Patience for Patients

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For the rest of the August 2009 issue of CRM magazine, please click here.

[For more on healthcare, see this month's cover story, "Healing the Sick."]

Holy Cross, a full-service, nonprofit hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has been listening to more than just patients’ heartbeats. Thanks to an enterprise feedback management solution from Allegiance, the healthcare facility has kept a close ear on what patients have to say about the care they receive. Named a Best Hospital by U.S. News & World Report in 2008, Holy Cross has also been recognized for excellence by HealthGrades, a hospital-ranking system.

Before implementing Allegiance, Holy Cross’s feedback was far less organized, says Gina Seneca, the hospital’s feedback administrator and manager of guest relations. Considering the measures a healthcare organization must take when a complaint is filed, disorganization is a major concern. “Now every time a regulation agent comes into our facility to investigate, I’m able to get right into the database and get information immediately,” Seneca says. “Prior to [Allegiance] everything was in binders and was handwritten. There were at least 50 four-inch binders filled with nothing but data.”

Traditional post-dispatch surveys only conveyed whether patients felt positive, negative, or neutral. “Often when people get surveys at home they’ve forgotten the experience or they don’t want to remember it,” Seneca adds. “It can be two to three weeks before they fill out the survey—and it could be months before it was [returned].”

With Allegiance’s PatientVoice solution, patients now can provide Holy Cross with their thoughts via email, phone, mail, or through the hospital’s Web site. The turnaround response is quick. “Whenever concerns or issues are brought to our attention, we’re able to address them right away, which ultimately gives better patient satisfaction,” Seneca says.

Closing the loop not only streamlines internal processes, but positions Holy Cross as patient-centric. Seneca says there’s a direct correlation with managing feedback well and receiving high patient-satisfaction scores. “We not only handle complaints, but we resolve them. We ultimately want [patients] to have that warm, fuzzy feeling,” she says. “I want them to want to come back to Holy Cross.”

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