Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Customer Service and Patient Satisfaction

Good customer service springs from individuals within an organization. It requires compassion and understanding that it is only by putting the needs of our customers, patients and residents first during each and every interaction with them that we can hope to excel as an organization and ensure we are fully living out our mission.

By the very nature of our work in health care, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to serve others at a time when their need for compassion is greatest. We are a privileged few.

In my message to our Associates this month, I congratulated each of them who have worked so hard in exceeding our patients’ expectations to provide the kind of compassionate, exemplary service we want to be known for at CHRISTUS. Service is not something we “add” at the end of the day or when we have time. Instead, it is a specific attitude toward caring that must occur as we do our jobs and interact with patients, their families, Associates, doctors, vendors and, essentially, each and every person we interact with each day.

I also told our Associates that, overall, patient satisfaction scores at CHRISTUS Health have improved significantly over our first decade of operations in the areas of inpatient care, emergency department (ED), outpatient and ambulatory surgical services.

The system has focused intensely on improving the ED patient experience during the past year. As a result, CHRISTUS achieved its largest single-year improvement ever and exceeds Press Ganey’s national average for the first time. Satisfaction improves dramatically when patients spend less than 2.5 hours in the ED, so efforts to streamline patient flow will continue to be important. Responding effectively to patient concerns and complaints is our greatest priority for improvement across all services. Hence, this will be a key system focus during our next fiscal year.

Commitment is the foundation of CHRISTUS’ Service Guarantee. The focus of our guarantee is a pledge that we are going to succeed, by being compassionate, attending to our patients’ special needs and keeping them informed, just as we would want to be if we were in their shoes.

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