Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hospital Patient Satisfaction - A Short Story

In the world of hospitals, it is well documented that superior patient satisfaction leads to higher quality scores, a better market position, and greater revenues.

Much of the same research also tells us that the single biggest driver of patient satisfaction is employee engagement.

Despite all of this compelling research, far too many many hospitals continue to believe that patient satisfaction can be influenced by consumer advertising -- billboards, newspaper ads, radio, etc.

So here's a story -- one that I swear is 100% true.

It starts with the unfortunate fact that my wife is currently undergoing treatment for leukemia at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. We've entrusted her care here since the beginning of October, and we've found the people who work here, from top to bottom, are beyond compare.

So here's the story: About 2 months ago, I was at Sloan with Lyn. I went to get a cup of coffee, but the coffee machine was being serviced by two people -- one training the other. As I approached, I overheard the trainer emphatically​ saying to the trainee, "The way we do things here at Sloan is simple. Everyone you deal with -- everyone -- is to be treated like they are a member of YOUR family."

I think that speaks volumes about this place.

I have now blogged that story twice, and told just about anyone who would listen -- no doubt many are telling their friends as well. Oh, and the hospital didn't need to spend $10,000 on a billboard to get that kind of good will, did it?

What does YOUR hospital do to foster a similar culture among its employees?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Minnesota Newspaper Sorts Through Nurses' Strike -- and Gets it Right

The hospital industry has been abuzz over the past several weeks, over the prospect of 12,000 nurses at 14 Minnesota hospitals striking over a variety of issues. The brief, but acrimonious strike that took place last week was punctuated by leaders of the nurses union accusing the hospitals of pressing for procedures and work rules that would lead to unsafe patient care.

Shockingly, in the end, it seems it was all about money.

An editorial published in the Pioneer Press of St. Paul hit the nail on the head. Its title: Nurses Care. So Do Hospital Bosses.

In the editorial, the paper took the nurses to task for their cynical (and apparently transparent) approach to gaining public and union support:

By relying on an argument that demonized hospital managers and attempted to raise panic about pervasive mortal danger in Twin Cities hospitals, the nurses union undermined its own credibility and the cause of intelligent discourse.

The paper went on to state: Arguing that hospital managers and the citizen boards who direct them care only about money and not at all about patients or employees is...outrageous.

More and more hospitals will be faced with labor issues -- not only among nurses, but also among support workers and technicians -- as healthcare dollars continue to get tighter and tighter. Moving forward, let's hope that these disputes can be resolved by reasonable people undertaking a discussion that centers around the best and most effective utilization of available resources, and not on a cynical attempt to demonize the opposition.

Because hospital bosses care, too.