Every day, Community Regional caregivers get effusive praise and thank you from their patients written on the interactive TV/computer portals in each room. But they were delighted to learn those same patients are also singing the hospital’s praises weeks later when independent surveyors call to find out about their hospital experience.
Last year more than 84% of Community Regional Medical Center’s patients rated their overall experience as a 9 or 10 out of 10 on surveys by the National Research Corporation, or NRC Picker. Because of those stellar ratings, Community Regional was one of six hospitals among the 755 NRC Picker surveys annually named as a Top Performing Hospital at NRC’s annual national symposium in August.
“Overall, my assessment of Fresno’s Community Regional is one of a class act with state-of-the-art technology,” a patient wrote last week on the interactive GetWellNetwork patient portal. “I was hesitant to come here originally, but this experience has definitely changed my opinion,”
Another patient wrote: “Community Regional has displayed excellence throughout my short stay here. The access to technology for patients is an added bonus. The use of on-screen feedback questions with unit supervisor follow-up is a class act. It demonstrates a commitment to customer service. Additionally, the food choice and timely manner in which it was delivered supported my recovery.”
NRC Picker surveys Community Regional’s patients as part of HCAHPS (the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems), a patient satisfaction survey required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for all hospitals in the U.S. While Community has always strived to deliver the best quality care in a caring, comfortable environment, now it’s an imperative from the federal government which is tying Medicare reimbursements to patient survey scores.
Through the HCHAPS survey, patients rate their inpatient stay in 27 categories, ranging from communication with doctors and nurses to pain management to facility cleanliness and quietness. Based in part on these scores, hospitals can either lose or gain up to 2% of their Medicare reimbursements in 2017.
Jo Gehringer, RN, director of Quality Management and Infection Control at Community Regional, sees all the GetWell patient comments. “It’s a rare occasion that we get a negative response,” she said. “Our most vocal people are our pleased patients and they praise everybody across the board – the physicians, nursing staff, patient care assistants, housekeeping, dietary staff and others.”
“This award is wonderful validation,” said Peggy Grant, director of innovation and performance improvement at the hospital. She believes the opportunity patients have to give immediate feedback makes a big difference in comfort, quality and communication for patients.
“Patients’ comments are now directed to our leadership from GetWellNetwork,” said Grant. “And leadership gives kudos back to staff right away. If a patient expresses a concern, the unit supervisors and managers readily describe action taken so leadership is made aware that the patient knows he or she is heard. Elevating the voice of the patient in such a huge, complex hospital really is making a difference”
As the academic medical center in partnership with UCSF and the Level 1 trauma, burn and high-risk birthing center for the whole central San Joaquin Valley, Community Regional gets dozens of patients transferred to it daily from other hospitals for a higher level of care. “In addition to providing a patient an extra pillow or tastier food,” said Grant, “central to CRMC's patient experience is that we do outstanding work partnering with patients in their care. We take their healing process seriously and consider it a privilege to serve our community's children, adults and those with really complex conditions and injuries.”
Erin Kennedy reported this story. Reach her at email@example.com