Service is part of our daily lives. It takes on many different formats – holding the door open, helping in a store, making your family dinner. Our part of the country tends to have a “serve others” mentality. When a flood is looming and sandbaggers are needed, people respond. It’s just what you do. You provide a service.
At Altru, we serve our patients. We work to heal them. Similar to other places that provide service, we are graded on it. Our commitment to service is measured using patient surveys following a stay or visit. We are rated on how well we deliver the Altru Promise.
Here are three ways we’re working together to improve overall service at Altru.
1. Measuring, Sharing and Reviewing H-Caps
We participate in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, designed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
There are three goals to HCAHPS (pronounced “h-caps”) survey:
- It produces comparative data. Think “apples to apples” instead of “apples to oranges.” This allows patients to make educated decisions.
- Public result reporting encourages hospitals to improve quality of care.
- Public reporting emphasizes hospital transparency.
Two questions relate to patients’ overall rating of the hospital and whether they would recommend it to others. Key topics include:
- communication with physicians,
- communication with nurses,
- responsiveness of hospital staff,
- cleanliness and noise level,
- pain control,
- communication about medication and
- discharge information.
2. Being Quiet
We believe quiet is good medicine. Calm, peaceful environments promote healing.
We spent summer 2013 putting quiet initiatives into place. We’ve improved call systems, dimmed lights, closed doors and reminded staff and visitors to be respectful of patients. And, it’s working. Compare June’s scores to those of May.
3. Implementing Bedside Shift Reports
The most important people in the hospital are patients. We want them involved in their care. Last month, we began bedside shift reports. At the beginning of every nurse’s shift, he or she will round on their new patients with the nurse going off-shift. Together, they will cover what care occurred during the previous shift, the patient’s treatment plan and will answer any questions from the patient.
This “hand-off” of communication allows the patient to be involved and informed. Once fully implemented, this initiative should directly impact communication with nurses, noise and communication about medication.
We want to provide outstanding service. Patients deserve it. Just listen to Lori Schroeder talk about her son, Grayson’s, visit this summer to our emergency room. By continually working to improve service, we’re building trust and confidence in Altru.
Do you have a suggestion for service-related improvement? Please, let us know in a comment.
As Chief Medical Executive, Dr. Eric Lunn provides leadership to the physicians at Altru Health System. He is also a practicing pediatrician. In his free time, Dr. Lunn enjoys spending time with his six grandchildren.
As Chief Nurse Executive, Margaret Reed, RN, ensures standards of care and scope of practice are maintained through leadership of impatient units, hospital nursing administration and vascular access. In her free time, Margaret reads, oil paints and spends time with her family.