Supplying cutting edge technology and the latest medical innovations is
crucial to superior healthcare. But, as is true in any other industry,
nothing outstrips good, old-fashioned courtesy.
In healthcare, that translates to listening to the patients’ questions
and fears, fully explaining their diagnoses and what’s being done
to heal them, and including them in each step of their care.
At Atlantic General Hospital, this kind of courtesy is an institution-wide
approach – and for the surgery staff there, what has put them in
the Top 10 percent for patient satisfaction among more than 750 hospital
and free-standing surgical departments across the country.
This achievement is a collective score from the second quarter of 2007,
spanning patient surveys collected by NRC+Picker during April, May and
June. A random selection of more than 100 outpatients responded to the
survey questions, giving the surgical team outstanding scores for their
kindness and availability to answer questions about the procedures as
well as for explaining outcomes fully. Every respondent said he or she
was satisfied with the service received during the outpatient surgery
experience, and 96 percent said they would recommend Atlantic General
Hospital’s surgical services to their friends and family.
Shirley Spirk, RN, director of surgical services at Atlantic General Hospital,
attributes a portion of the increasingly positive response to changes
that have been implemented in the registration process.
“A surgical services staff member will greet patients on arrival
to the hospital and escort them directly to the unit to expedite registration
and preparation before their scheduled procedure,” said Spirk. “We
include family members in this process to help relieve anxiety for patients.
And, this provides a good opportunity for questions and concerns to be
The department also has a strong network of volunteers from the hospital’s
auxiliary who act as escorts for patients and their families and often
bring an air of reassurance and even levity to a nervous patient’s day.
NRC Picker, the oldest performance measurement firm in the nation solely
dedicated to the healthcare industry, has been conducting the patient
satisfaction surveys for Atlantic General Hospital and Health System since
2005. Picker provides patient satisfaction survey tools to hospitals,
health plans, government agencies and medical groups throughout the United
States, Canada, Europe and Asia. The agency maintains the world’s
largest patient experience database, with which they determine the aspects
of healthcare that are most important to patients.