Devoted to the Patient and Family Experience

Inpatient Staff Lives Up to the Promise

From the time that UW Health at The American Center was merely an idea, the goal has been to create and sustain a truly patient- and family-centered culture in which healthcare addresses the needs of the whole person.

The most recent Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award confirms that UW Health at The American Center is living up to the promise.

In November 2017, UW Health at The American Center received the award, given to organizations that sustain performance in the top five percent of those surveyed during the year. To qualify, organizations must perform at that 95th percentile during all reporting periods in the award year. UW Health at The American Center was recognized in the “Patient Experience” category for inpatient care.

Delivering a high-quality patient experience involves managing many diverse components of that experience. Vicki Hill, vice president of clinic operations at The American Center, says that the work begins with data: monthly Press Ganey results are shared in the daily unit huddle and posted on the “huddle board.” Teams discuss the findings and use process-improvement tools to identify and address problems and measure the outcomes.

For example, data showed that more than six percent of specialty clinic patients at The American Center did not have their medical records available for the provider when the patient was in clinic. That resulted in an inefficient workflow and dissatisfied patients. A team including RNs, NPs, schedulers and management identified where the problem was occurring and the root causes underlying it, such as a lack of a central location for hard-copy records.

After implementing three changes in the workflows of schedulers and RNs, the team checked the results, which showed that the number of patients missing information related to their appointment had dropped to zero.

Hill said that transparency about Press Ganey results has prompted several successful improvement projects across teams. The commitment to continuous quality improvement reflects the overall idea behind The American Center site: Well before the building was even designed, groups of patients and family members offered ideas about what it should provide, how it should be laid out and what kind of services and amenities patients would appreciate.

The UW Health Patient and Family Experience Promise sums up the approach. Its three simple principles – listen with compassion, communicate effectively and treat patients with respect – encapsulate what patients and families should be able to expect from UW Health.

“Our staff is continually focused on the well-being of our patients as exemplified by their individualized, compassionate care,” says Senior Vice President, Chief Nurse Executive Beth Houlahan. “When providing our patients with an excellent experience, our staff is always mindful of meeting their needs relative to their mind, body and spirit.”