Recognition for how we serve our patients
Health care facilities are scored in a number of ways - and those scores have become more numerous and more accessible to the public over the years. Many scores are based on specific medical services or outcomes. But these numbers only tell part of the story: they may reflect skill, but do they reflect compassion? The right medicine may be given, but did the patient understand the treatment? The room might be private, but was it quiet and clean?
A few years ago a coalition of national health care organizations and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid launched an ongoing patient satisfaction survey to look at actual hospital experiences over 10 categories like quietness of rooms, promptness of nursing response and communications with doctors and nurses. The survey is called the "Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers," simplified to HCAHPS (pronounced H-caps). Patients are surveyed after their hospital stay, and surveys are processed independently from the hospital.
The first hospital patient satisfaction surveys were released in March 2008, covering surveys sent to patients from October 2006 through June 2007. Bigfork Valley achieved instant recognition. The hospital placed at the top among participating hospitals in the state in seven of ten question categories. A national healthcare magazine reported that Bigfork Valley tied for seventh among all participating hospitals in the country in the percent of patients who reported that yes, they would definitely recommend the hospital to family and friends.
We realized that the type of questions asked on the survey tracked well with our values, and that these values were imbedded in our culture, not on a checklist. Our patients responded positively because we had addressed their needs as patients just as we would have if they had been our family, friends or neighbors.
In fact, in every survey, Bigfork Valley has scored at the top of the state in many or most of the ten categories. In the results released in May 2010, Bigfork Valley ranked first or second in 8 of the 10 questions among almost 90 participating hospitals.
Our hospital patients put us first in Minnesota in ...
- doctor-patient communication
- nurse-patient communication
- explaining about medicines
- getting help quickly from staff
- when rating the hospital overall
Bigfork Valley ranks first in Minnesota on whether patients would definitely recommend the hospital.
The results are at www.mnhospitalquality.org/hospCompare.aspx.