Thursday, February 20, 2014

Patient voices inspire us at CoxHealth

From financial reports, to clinical quality scores, to employee and patient satisfaction survey data, several important tools are available to measure and track our organizational success at CoxHealth.

One of the most meaningful ways to gauge our progress that goes to the heart of our mission, vision and our values is hearing directly from our customers – our patients and their families. What they say about us regarding their experience with CoxHealth is important and powerful. It validates the effort put forth to deliver medical care in a way so that customers understand that we care for them, and it helps us improve when customer experiences fall short of expectations.

Besides the patient satisfaction survey results themselves, other methods capture this voice of the customer – comments that can illuminate the specific words, attitudes and behaviors that make up an exceptional hospital or clinic experience. These methods include the Contact Us form on, word-of-mouth stories shared with a co-worker, and Guest Services and Administration staff who receive calls and notes from our customers on a regular basis.

“Our customers are talking and it is important to listen to what they are saying,” says Jennifer Pyck, Guest Services manager. “Hearing positive feedback is a source of pride, inspiration and celebration to recognize high performance in service and as a catalyst to do an even better job for our customers.”

Pyck says staff members always appreciate hearing patients and families express a compliment about their care at the time of service, and it’s especially impactful when the customer makes the extra effort and takes time to write or call after their visit.

Pyck and her team enjoy passing along customer comments to those areas that played a role in a particular patient’s care and to the Corporate Communications team as a Connect Daily submission for the Voice of the Customer segment. Some of the letters and cards are placed in a booklet called “From the Lives We Touched,” which is published every year or two. Copies of the latest edition are available at Cox South Administration.

“We get a lot of comments and I love sharing those messages highlighting the positive experiences of our patients and families,” says Pyck. “It confirms what a great organization CoxHealth is and reminds us what we’re here for and the great things we are doing as a team. Every person who comes into contact with our customers can shape perceptions of CoxHealth. Everyone has the ability to make that lasting impression.”

Pyck says it’s usually the little aspects of a patient’s care that can make or break an experience. How well we communicate with patients and families is a consistent theme in customer compliments as well as customer concerns.

“Communication makes a world of difference,” says Pyck. “For example, if a patient has a delay, as long as they are told about the reasons for the delay, they are put at ease and they feel like they are respected. Our effort to keep people informed of what’s going on with their care makes a huge difference in how they perceive their care. Feeling well informed is one of the ways patients feel well cared for. They feel we are on top of things.”

When you read through customer comments, you get a picture of what is valued by our customers and ultimately, the words, behaviors and attitudes that should be incorporated into our everyday work. These comments can encourage us, reignite our fire for the work we do and remind us that it takes both our hands and our hearts to be the best for those who need us.

Our customers speak
From feedback given to Guest Services: “My daughter was seen in the emergency room after an ATV accident. I was very impressed with the upbeat, friendly people who worked there. I did not once come in contact with one negative person. As with all emergency rooms, there was waiting, but the pleasant people all around made it nice.

Not only were the nurses attentive to me, but every time I saw one, they asked my family who were with me if they were OK or if they needed something as well. I will always recommend CoxHealth to anyone who asks. Thank you!”

From a “Contact Us” message: “I have been sick for 15 years and I have never felt as satisfied to leave a doctor’s office in my life. She cared, she listened to me. I got in my car and started crying! She was amazing and doctors like her are so rare. I called my husband, mom, and sister, everyone to tell them about it. I can’t wait to see her again. The fact that she listened just means the world.”

From a patient compliment to Cox Monett: “If there is such a thing as ‘a pleasant surgical experience,’ then I had one on the morning of Oct. 7 in your fine hospital, thanks to the professionalism shown and the warm confidence felt. I was completely at ease through the whole procedure. Thanks to Dr. Harms, nurse Rhonda and all of your capable staff.”

A patient’s mother called Guest Services at Cox South to share the experience she had while her son was a patient: “The nurses and staff in the NTICU were awesome. When they came into the room, they explained everything they were doing. They answered every question we had and they answered in a way that we could understand. They were kind and brought us some cookies and fruit to snack on. One of the nurses really impacted me because when she came in to reposition my son she used the nickname our friends and family always used, and this was so special to me. Brian was awesome: there were days that I wanted to curl up and hide because I could hardly stand what was happening; Brian was so good and kind that he made this terrible situation livable. Brian even came upstairs to be with us while my son passed away. Every person I encountered at Cox went above and beyond; money couldn’t buy what they’ve given us.”

From a letter to Cox Medical Center Branson: “Just a note to let you know how much I appreciate the lab at the heart center. Both Kara and Beth are wonderful at their jobs. No matter how busy they are, they always have time for their patients. Thanks for your support of these ladies.”

From patient survey feedback for the Cox South Emergency Department:
“Staff with great people skills. They paid attention to the fact that they had the air conditioning way too low for somebody of advanced years like my mom and they did something about it. Great people skills, great listening skills, very, very attentive, very good at communication, very good at answering questions.

I’m a caregiver and I have a lot of questions for medical staff. They did great and did not treat me in a demeaning way or make me feel that I was not of value.”

From a “Contact Us” message through “I was at the Pediatric Urgent Care with my daughter. From the moment we walked in the door I was amazed. Everyone I came into contact with was wonderful and friendly and seemed to genuinely care about their jobs.

My daughter had been to see her regular doctor where we are from, but Dr. Kumar and his nurse, Lori, took very good care of my daughter. She was taken care of very quickly and I love the way she was treated. She has since decided that if she gets sick again, then we have to drive the 80-plus miles it would take to get her to CoxHealth so that she can be seen by your doctors. Thank you so much for taking such wonderful care of my daughter!”

From a letter sent to Oxford Hospice by a patient’s family member: These two ladies are jewels! Alicia F. was our assigned nurse. She did everything she could to make my husband comfortable. She knew he was in a great deal of pain and did everything she could to reassure him and prepare him for what was going to happen. He waited for her to get there to take his last breath. Amy K. was our on-call nurse and was there within a moment’s notice. She was always pleasant and truly wonderful with us. She was very gentle and caring. She has a big heart and cares not only for the patient, but also for the family.”

From a letter by the family of a patient at Cox South:
“Our family would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire staff of 900 West for the tender, compassionate care they have given our family member. Because she has been on the floor for a week, the staff had an opportunity to get to know her. Each staff member has been wonderful. Not only have they wonderfully cared for her, but they have been considerate and kind with our entire family and friends. You should be very proud to have such a great staff.”

From a patient call to Guest Services, Springfield:
“I came in to the Radiology Care Unit for a bone marrow biopsy. My nurses, Amy and Lisa, were wonderful. Dr. Roberts was great, too. The care I received was unreal. They were the kindest people I have come across yet. They really went above and beyond.”