Patient Satisfaction On The Rise

Greater patient satisfaction is a positive trend within the emergency department at Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital.

A national satisfaction survey company, Press Ganey, polls patients weekly and compares Reed City Hospital’s data among all U.S. hospitals nationally. The Reed City Hospital emergency department has scored higher than 90 percent of its peer hospitals since August, 2008.

In January 2009, the Reed City Hospital emergency department was among the top ranking hospitals in the nation, with the highest possible rating of 99th percentile.

Department Renovations

The positive statistics may be attributed to a number of improvements. During the summer of 2007, the department was renovated to create dedicated areas for emergency patients and their families.

“Patient satisfaction surveys two years ago clearly indicated the need for improvements to privacy that had to be resolved by reconfiguring our space,” said Jeremy Carlson, emergency department supervisor, Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital. “We responded to the feedback by investing in improvements to the facility and our processes.”

Facility improvements include the addition of three exam rooms, bringing the total to 10. Patients and families also appreciate the addition of a private entrance to the emergency department and a family room with a flat-screen television and self-serve beverage station.

Process Improvements

Processes in the emergency department have changed along with the physical space.

A team of staff and physicians meet monthly to review patient satisfaction data, according to Carlson.

“From the amount of time spent, to how staff communicate, we look at ways to enhance the experience of patients and families,” he said.

The team found one aspect of satisfaction is the staff’s ability to keep patients and families informed. A new standard requires a staff member to stop in a patient’s room every 30 minutes, or more frequently.

The staff member asks patients if they are feeling any pain, whether they are too cold or hot, or if there is anything staff can do to make them more comfortable.

A marker board in the patient’s room lists scheduled tests and is updated by staff. The visual reminder helps patients to better understand the sequence of events during their visit.

Follow-up Calls

When patients return home, a nurse from the emergency department phones within 48 hours to ask the patient how they are feeling and to answer any questions.

Nurses call nearly 1,000 patients a month. On average, nurses are able to contact between 80 and 85 percent of the total number of patients seen in the emergency department each month. In January 2009, nurses met their goal of calling every patient.

“Occasionally patients have an issue we help resolve, but for the most part they simply appreciate hearing from the nurse,” said Carlson.

Physicians’ Commitment

When Alan Grillo, MD, and his team began staffing the Reed City Hospital emergency department in 2005, he saw many opportunities for improvement.

“We are care-oriented and driven by what satisfies our patients,” says Dr. Grillo, medical director of emergency services, Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital.

Dr. Grillo relied heavily on his stopwatch. He recorded the time it took to complete every single step of a patient visit from registration to discharge. He notes opportunities and overlaps. As a result, processes were streamlined and care improved.

One process that has been streamlined is patient check in. Upon arrival, the patient is escorted into a private room for triage (initial evaluation) or directly to an exam room. Registration information is recorded at the bedside.

What’s Next

Starting the spring of 2009, access to secure, electronic patient information will improve. Online computer charting will allow authorized staff and physicians to check a patient’s medical information, including history of visits, prescribed medications and test results. While some of the information is currently electronic, having it all together will enhance the speed and accuracy of diagnosis.

“Patients are amazed at the changes we’ve made in the last five years,” says Carlson. “Improvements will continue as we keep our focus on providing a better experience for patients and families.”

Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital is a 25 bed acute care hospital located in Reed City, Mich. that has adopted the Planetree approach to care giving. A model of patient centered care in a healing environment, staff is committed to improving medical care from the patient’s perspective, empowering patients and families through education, information and encouraging healing partnerships with caregivers. Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital offers a newly renovated emergency department with private treatment rooms, an expanded medical imaging department, a regional cancer treatment center and an Eden Care award winning 54 bed Skilled Nursing facility. Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital has been recognized for its quality care by the Michigan Quality Improvement Organization and has earned the Governor’s Award of Excellence for Improving Care in the Hospital Setting for 4 consecutive years, the Total Benchmark Solution quality award for 2005 and the 2006 and 2007 VHA Leadership Award for clinical excellence.