Healthcare News & Insights

Impact patient care and satisfaction with these 5 tips

Small changes can mean big results. Take, for example, the nurse-driven initiative to boost customer service and patient care that’s making a big impact at one Atlanta facility. 

465543463Five small steps launched by the hospital’s emergency room nurses was all it took to help revive Grady Memorial Hospital’s ailing patient satisfaction scores and improve communication among patients and departments, Advance Health Network for Nurses reports.

This was quite a feat for the hospital since safety-net institutions like Grady Memorial have found themselves on the other side of the eight-ball when it comes to patient satisfaction.

Facilities classified as urban safety-net hospitals are often at an inherent disadvantage when it comes to pay-for-performance reimbursements simply because they handle more complex cases more frequently than other healthcare facilities.

Staying afloat is even more critical as the money set aside to reimburse safety-net hospitals for the disproportionate share of uninsured patients they treat has been cut in half.

Interactive training program

The ED nurses, who treat 10,000 patients a day at the level-one trauma center, wanted to find ways to boost the hospital’s sinking bottom line along with its patient satisfaction scores, and communicate with and care effectively for their patients in high-stress situations.

The nurses designed an interactive training program for ED staff called the Customer Service Initiative (CSI).  The new patient-centered approach to care not only resulted in swift and marked improvements in the hospital’s patient satisfaction scores, but won the accolades of C-Suite execs who made the training mandatory for all hospital personnel.

CSI provides a free-form, open discussion and interactive format which allows healthcare workers to share their difficult customer service stories, highlight challenges they might encounter and share solutions on how to solve those challenges.

5 Steps to better service

Here is the CSI’s five steps to better customer service:

  • Don’t break the chain of command. Know the hospital hierarchy when handling complaints, employee disputes or interdepartmental challenges.
  • Collect evidence: Be aware of non-verbal cues from patients and their families. In this exercise, participants were outfitted with backboards and cervical spine immobilizers to make them aware of the discomfort and emotional stress patients experience when they arrive at Grady’s busy ED.
  • Teamwork: The often self-reliant ED staff participated in an interactive exercise (they were asked to solve a less-than-perfect 3D puzzle on very short time restraints). Staying united, using all available resources and working well inter-departmentally is crucial to ensure patients receive the best care.
  • Communication: Frequent communication with patients and family members is vital. It’s important to consider how patients perceive what you are saying,  your tone of voice and choice of words, and
  • DNA (don’t give negative answer): Proper phone etiquette is critical when providing information and/or direction to callers.

Since its launch last year, more than 95% of Grady Memorial’s ED nursing staff and over 50% of the attending emergency medicine physicians have participated in the program.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest healthcare news and insights delivered to your inbox.