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 addressed.”
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.
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