When the University of Virginia Health System came together to solve their psychiatric patient recidivism rate, they asked one question that many forget or are afraid to ask: what do we appreciate about our process? In other words, what IS working?
This strategy of focusing on the good, or the positive aspects, is known as appreciative inquiry and can lead to self-determined change. At UVA Health System, team members came together for a two-day event to reflect on the positive aspects of their current mental health services. Instead of honing in on what was going wrong and what they didn’t want to recreate in their new plan of action, team members told stories of commitment, collaboration, and wholeheartedness to accentuate the positive and designed their ideal transition plan to move patients from inpatient to outpatient in a way that maximized love, well-being, and health. The result was a smoother transition for patients and ultimately higher results for the psychiatric services Experience.