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Show, Don't Tell Patient Experience

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, August 10, 2011

JMC was sustaining 90th percentile rankings until it hit a wall during the second quarter when it fell to 74th. The scenario was puzzling – leadership had already established patient satisfaction standards such as hourly rounds, bedside shift reports, and post-discharge calls within 24 hours.

So, why the drop?

The answer was staff complacency about following these established protocols. To address the problem, leadership scheduled mandatory refresher training, and the next quarter scores were back up in the 99th percentile, Edmonson says.

Staff just needed little reminders about keeping a patient focus --- the same message they hope to remind the community. A hospital's walls can literally be crumbling around patients, but if the staff stays positive, there will be a trickledown effect to patients.

The best patient satisfaction score Edmonson remembers during his 16 years as a hospital CEO was when the ER at Hillside Hospital in Pulaski, TN was under construction. 

“The staff was so concerned, they were saying ‘I’m sorry about the noise’ or ‘I’m sorry about the dust,’” he says. “The place was as raunchy as it could be but the staff was extremely empathetic and that resonated with patients.”

For more information on boosting patient experience sign up for my Quantify and Cultivate Patient Engagement webcast airing September 22. I'll be talking with Jeanne Kuriyan, Principal, as well as June Connor and Sandra Mackey from Emory Healthcare about how to keep 90th percentile patient satisfaction scores.


Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Anna Webster, Online Content Coordinator for HealthLeaders Media, can be reached at awebster@hcpro.com.
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3 comments on "Show, Don't Tell Patient Experience"


stephen.mcclure (8/11/2011 at 10:58 AM)
HCAHPS presents an opportunity for improvement as well as a challenge. HealthStream helps many of our customers understand their HCAHPS scores and find ways to raise them. Learn more about our HCAHPS expertise at: http://www.healthstream.com/solutions/improve-your-HCAHPS-scores.aspx

Steve Wilkins (8/10/2011 at 7:16 PM)
The "patient experience" for most hospitals begins with patients visiting one of their employed or non-employed physicians. People visit their primary care physicians 10 times as often as they visit a hospital ER or Inpatient unit. So what kind of "experience" are patients having in your primary care physicians' offices? For a glimpse - download a free white paper on the subject at: http://healthecommunications.wordpress.com/white-paper/ Steve Wilkins

Beth Wright (8/10/2011 at 5:07 PM)
Thanks for including Jacksonville Medical Center in your column, Anna! The staff there does an outstanding job. While their initial marketing campaign efforts didn't immediately impact the community, it did have an immediate impact on both employee satisfaction and physician and staff recruitment. And as the hospital highlights patients' experiences in the second phase of their campaign, the communication will be even more effective. As you know, it takes a significant investment of time, energy and resources to change community perception.