Training Top 125 Best Practice: Patient Experience iCare Training at WellSpan Health

Over the last year, WellSpan rolled out a new model called iCare to further expand the Patient Experience caring framework for customer interactions.

Integrated health system WellSpan Health recognizes the value of caring communication training associated with its patient experience and offers this across the organization. The patient experience journey is not to a final destination but rather an ongoing commitment to build and sustain a culture that supports patients through consistent caring behaviors no matter what part of the organization they visit. The current curriculum requirement has been in place for a few years, and continues to grow and evolve because it is so critical to WellSpan’s culture.

All patient experience training incorporates communication skills to support the entire customer experience from the time the customer calls for an appointment through to leaving the WellSpan facility and beyond into home health care or follow-up services. Over the last year, a new model called iCare was rolled out to further expand the Patient Experience caring framework for customer interactions.

Program Details

The iCare model stands for:

i (introduce/invite)

C (confirm)

A (ask)

R (reassure)

E (educate)

This model is to be used as employees interact with patients and customers. The training curriculum includes classroom-based training, online video courses tracked in the learning management system (LMS), and team/leader service coaching.

A critical part of the health-care experience is ensuring patients are educated on their patient instructions, using a teach-back method to confirm learning has taken place.

Beyond training alone, an ongoing Level 3 assessment is performed to ensure the training results in application and cultural transformation. This involves an ongoing tool/process called “leader rounding with staff.” Leaders meet monthly with each staff member on their team and ask a series of consistent questions to support the application of caring behaviors. iCare was added to the Rounding form template. Not only must staff understand what iCare is, their leaders ask them asked monthly for examples of caring behaviors they are observing or applying on the job. Leaders are held accountable to rounding, as monthly summary logs are submitted to the leader’s leader. Each level of leader shares highlights from the logs with their leader. The additional benefit is a connection among employees at all levels of the organization.


The training strategy reached 98 percent of WellSpan’s York/Adams/Lancaster, PA, county employees.

Patient experience surveys indicate success of the training efforts across the organization. A strategic goal over the last year was to increase the percentage of patients who consider their overall experience “exceptional” as measured through the All Press Ganey comparative database. The goal was met, with seven out of the eight sites achieving their target. Of note, the Surgical Hospital site won the 2016 Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award as it reached the 95th percentile for each reporting period of the award year for Patient Experience in Inpatient Care and HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems).

The iCARE program is demonstrating consistent results over time. WellSpan saw similar results the year prior, beating its goal to improve by 1.77 top box points through HCAHPS, improving by 3.54 points.

Training Top 125

2017 Training Top 125 winners demonstrated a strong focus on effective training and employee development tied to corporate strategic goals and business impact.

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