Staff at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital (SNLH) enjoyed tasting homemade varieties of mild, medium and spicy chili during a recent chili cook-off. The reason for the fun event was even more satisfying: the hospital was celebrating its four-star status for providing positive patient experiences.
“For the past few years, we’ve made a concerted effort to improve the patient experience,” said Theresa Via, SNLH Quality Department director. “We challenged staff in every department to review their area and their services and make tangible changes that improve their patients’ experience. The survey results confirm that we are doing a great job in providing a comfortable, healing and safe environment for our patients.”
Recently discharged adult patients are randomly selected for the mail survey called Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). Participants are asked to give feedback on 11 topics, such as how well nurses and doctors communicated, how responsive hospital staff were to patient needs, how well the hospital managed patients’ pain, and the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment.
“We value our patients’ perspective on the care they receive while admitted to our hospital,” Via said. “Their honest feedback enables us to pinpoint areas that need improvement and capitalize on our strengths.”
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calculated HCAHPS survey results from 3,505 hospitals, and posted the results on its Hospital Compare website. SNLH earned a four-star rating for patient experience, out of a possible five stars, placing it in the top third of hospitals nationwide that provide an exceptional patient experience. In the recent Hospital Compare star summary ratings, SNLH earned four stars in cleanliness, nurse communication, staff responsiveness, pain management, communication about medicines and discharge information; and earned three stars for transition of care, quietness, overall hospital rating and whether patients would recommend the hospital to others.
Just 6.1 percent of hospitals attained the top five-star rating for patient experience, while 34.3 percent earned four stars. The majority of hospitals – 41.9 percent – received three star ratings, while nearly 18 percent of hospitals were rated two- or one-star.
Not only does the hospital receive its overall rating, but individual departments receive results specific to their patients and services, which enable them to focus on making continual improvements.