January 2001

Vol. 3, No. 1


Feeling better: Children's Hospital improves patient satisfaction with SPC

Nobody-adult or child--really looks forward to a hospital stay, but Children's Medical Center in Dayton has been able to improve its patient satisfaction scores through an educational intervention strategy facilitated by SQCpack.

"Most patients and their parents do not mind a slight delay in waiting for a physician or ancillary service staff member, but they feel more in control 

when they are given the courtesy of having someone touch base with them periodically in the waiting room," says Carol Wise, MS, RN, BC, CPHQ, who is director of quality resource management for the 155-bed pediatric acute care facility. By using SPC, her department has been able to identify the impact that such interventions have had on the process.

To follow up on the data analysis, hospital staff members put together a video and did a number of educational interventions. Improvement was generated in patient satisfaction scores in specialty clinics, cardiology, radiology, and laboratory services.

CMC has an active Quality Steering Committee that oversees performance improvement endeavors at the organization. Ultimately, the hospital's trustees review all performance improvement reports, through its Performance Improvement Oversight Committee (PIOC).

Beginning about two years ago, Carol Wise participated in SPC training offered by PQ Systems. She began converting the report card given to the PIOC to control charts, to "give a more meaningful way to examine the data." At the same time, the hospital has supported training of managers and board members in interpreting charts. Wise's department looks at data from a variety of sources in its ongoing effort to improve patient care. Among areas that have benefited from this analysis are patient satisfaction, hospital-acquired infection rates, susceptibility of resistant bacteria to antibiotics, patient complaints, medication errors, safety issues, mortality rates, and denials by third-party payers.

About four years ago, the hospital's quality department was restructured so that nurses were more aligned in a disease management structure. This allowed a nurse to follow patients with respiratory illnesses, for example. The process has evolved to a modified case management approach that renders nurses far more familiar with each patient's case and better positioned to address concerns with insurance companies. Results, demonstrated in SPC charts, include a significant decrease in the number of denials from insurance companies.

The hospital recently showcased its SPC charts and discussed ensuing improvements in a performance improvement overview at a visit from the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the regulatory body that provides oversight to hospitals, home cares, and many long-term care facilities in the nation. One complaint that JCAHO often has with health care organizations, Wise says, is that they tend to be "data rich and information poor." The surveyors who visited CMC, on the other hand, complimented the organization for its ability to demonstrate the impact of data collection, analysis, and action to make changes.

With improvement clearly underway, Wise is optimistic about the future. "We believe that we have begun a successful transition toward the use of SPC charts in all of our performance improvement activities throughout the organization."

And in the meantime, the hospital's patients are already happier about being there.

 


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