Patient Centeredness

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By being patient-centered, we provide care that is respectful and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values.  Some examples of patient-centered care measures include:

  • Measuring satisfaction among families whose children are hospitalized to ensure that their children are receiving the best medical care possible.

  • Measuring satisfaction among families who visit our outpatient centers to ensure that their needs and the needs of their children are being met.

Patient-Centeredness: Inpatient Satisfaction

Why is this measure important?

Each year, approximately 25,000 children are admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital.  While it is critical that our patients receive the best medical care possible, it is also important that patients and families have the best possible experience while in our hospital.   That’s why we have a program that asks parents to rate their child’s total hospital experience – everything from the quality of the food and the cleanliness of their room to the care provided by nurses.


How do we track this measure?

To measure parent satisfaction, we work with the National Research Corporation (NRC) and use their Picker Pediatric Inpatient Survey.  The Picker survey is mailed to a random sample of parents whose children were discharged from Children’s the previous week.  Approximately 1,200 parents receive the survey each quarter. Parents return the completed survey directly to NRC, which tabulates the results and sends them to us.

For this measure, we look at one question on the Picker survey (“Overall, how would you rate the care your child received at the hospital?”) to see how well we did.  Our goal is to have 100% of parents rate their experience at our hospital as “excellent.”


How do we compare to other hospitals?

During the second quarter of 2012, 76% of parents rated their experience at Children’s as “excellent.” These ratings are better than the average of all children’s hospitals in the country that use the Picker survey. However, they are lower than the ratings of the children’s hospitals that received the highest scores, and they do not meet our target of 100%
 


What are we doing to improve?

We are doing a variety of things to improve patient and family satisfaction. Our Diversity and Culturally Competent Care Committee is working to improve satisfaction among families from diverse backgrounds.  Three members of our staff have also completed a year-long disparities leadership program to improve care to these families.

We have developed and tested a program called Transforming Care at the Bedside, which is designed to improve direct nursing care to patients, and based on its success in improving parent satisfaction on one of our units, we are implementing it throughout the hospital.

Finally, we continue to closely monitor parent satisfaction results quarterly, and our Family-Centered Nursing Care Work Group meets monthly to develop new ways of improving the patient and family experience at Children’s.

Patient-Centeredness: Outpatient Satisfaction 

Why is this measure important?

Each year, our clinics schedule more than 500,000 outpatient visits.  While it is critical that our patients receive the best medical care possible during these outpatient visits, it is also important that patients and families have the best possible experience while visiting our outpatient clinics.   That’s why we ask parents (or, in some cases, adolescents and adult patients) to complete a satisfaction survey as they leave their appointment.
 

How do we track this measure? 

We collect information from the satisfaction survey that is given to all parents as they leave their appointment.  For this measure, we look at one question on the survey (“Overall, how would you rate the care your child/you received at this visit?”) to see how we did.  Our goal is to have 100% of parents and patients rate our care as “excellent.”
 

How do we compare to other hospitals?  

In the summer of 2012, 65% of parents rated their outpatient experience as “excellent.” This was an improvement over previous years. Since other children’s hospitals do not use the same outpatient satisfaction survey that we do, it is difficult to compare our performance with other children’s hospitals. However, our performance does not meet our target of 100%.
 


What are we doing to improve?

Several years ago, Boston Children’s launched its “Exceptional Care, Exceptional Service” program, which provides training to our staff on customer service and solicits suggestions from employees on how to improve the patient and family experience.  To date, more than 8,400 staff members have been trained, and many excellent suggestions continue to be received and implemented.

Boston Children’s has also identified those clinics that have higher patient satisfaction scores and shared their best practices with others, in an effort to boost patient satisfaction throughout all of our clinics.  As a result of this program, all of our clinics have been able to implement at least one new idea to improve patient satisfaction.

We are also looking closely at situations in which parents and patients have had less than ideal experiences to understand what caused the dissatisfaction and what we can do about it.

Finally, we have implemented a number of other programs to recognize outstanding service and improve the patient and family experience.  They include:

  • Our “Employee of the Month” program, which recognizes staff members who provide excellent customer service;
  • Our “Way to Shine” program, which provides on-the-spot recognition to staff members who provide outstanding customer service;
  • A special effort to improve customer service among front desk staff.  As a result of this effort, we have seen significant improvements in making patients feel welcomed.
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