Rita Mark, RN, has made some 4,000 calls this year to patients discharged from acute-care units of Swedish/Edmonds Hospital in Washingtons Snohomish County to gather feedback on their experiences and pinpoint areas for improvement. The calls also check on how patients are feeling, review discharge instructions and medication use, and discuss other services such as home health.
A discharge triage nurse, Mark makes daily rounds of the PCU and acute-care settings to meet patients who are leaving and let them know she will be calling with questions about their stay at the facility, which changed its name from Stevens Hospital to Swedish/Edmonds on Sept. 1 after a merger with Seattle-based Swedish.
I started rounding to get a feel for specific areas of the hospital experience the patients might want to address, Mark says. I also ask when would be a good time to call, which makes patients more receptive.
Rich Patient DataKarin Reese, RN
Nursing Director Karin Reese, RN, MS, says the hospital uses a discharge call management program that didnt gain traction until the hospital made Mark the point person for gathering feedback instead of relying on individual nurses for callbacks. Rita was put in a position to own the program and move it forward and is the reason for the volume and incredibly rich data we now have, Reese says.
Mark made a record 696 calls to discharged patients in August that included 283 expanded surveys, 35.5% of which showed a concern over some aspect of care. Top areas of concern were quality of care by nurses (17%), response time (9.5%) and quality of care by physicians (9.5%).
While statistics are gathered on complaints, the calls also report positive patient remarks. One patient was impressed with nurses who introduced their replacement before signing out for a shift. It really felt like they cared and went the extra mile, the patient says in a monthly newsletter originated and distributed by Mark. Others praised a new food service with nutritious menu choices.
Reese says the call program has significant IT support that creates a depth and richness of data far beyond what a one-dimensional survey would provide. One reward is a steady upward trend in patient satisfaction and safety, she says. It gives us an inside-the-hospital view through a patients eyes, she says.