If you were a patient at Valley Medical Center or one of its clinics recently, you likely received a mailed or e-mailed survey asking about your experience. But once you send in your comments, how does Valley use your feedback? Enter, the Office of Patient Experience (OPE). This three-person team collects thousands of patient comments and survey scores to measure and evaluate patient experiences, and then partners with leaders and teams throughout the organization to discuss possible process improvements.
“Our role is to help make sure patients and families have the best experience possible while in our care. The feedback we receive is invaluable for making those improvements that enhance comfort and safety, as well as reduce suffering,” says Office of Patient Experience Director Kirstin Sellers.
While many survey comments received are positive, some comments showcase opportunities for improvement. The OPE team shares all patient feedback with leadership and helps create conversations about solutions to improve or update procedures. One recent example is a new approach to safety rounding. While our hospital nurses have always maintained a regular schedule for checking on patients, now nurses visit patients every hour (except for when the patient is asleep) to anticipate and proactively respond to patient comfort needs, such as bed position and bathroom trips, rather reactively responding to call lights. While call lights can still be used by patients (one of the checks during the safety rounds is that the call light button is readily available to the patient if needed), the hourly safety rounds can decrease patients’ need to use the call lights.
In addition to surveys, the OPE works with the Patient & Family Advisory Council to listen, collaborate, and make improvements to care. The Council provided feedback on new signage and wayfinding around Valley’s main campus, and is currently brainstorming improvement projects to address as a council. More information on the Patient & Family Advisory Council can be found in this We Are Valley blog article. For more on OPE, visit valleymed.org/PFAC.
*For more on how hospitals are changing from patient satisfaction surveys to patient experience surveys, check out the TEDx Talk “Improving Patient Experience Means Reducing Suffering” by Deirdre Mylod, PhD.