Jackie Kennell (left), 6-A surgery unit director at Grady Memorial Hospital, and Chief Nursing Officer Rhonda Scott have worked hard to improve the patient experience. | Nursing initiatives improve patient satisfaction at Grady
Jackie Kennell (left), 6-A surgery unit director at Grady Memorial Hospital, and Chief Nursing Officer Rhonda Scott have worked hard to improve the patient experience.
"We've always been interested in patient satisfaction and collected data on it, but the new focus nationwide ties back to money," said Rhonda Scott, Ph.D., RN, chief nursing officer for Grady Health System.
Beginning on Oct. 1, 2012, the government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid linked reimbursement to a hospital's quality of care and patient satisfaction.
The expectation is that patients should undergo hospital procedures with no complications, such as catheter-associated blood stream infections or pressure ulcers, Scott
If there are problems, some money would be deducted from the reimbursement fee.
"But patients are also asked to complete a customer satisfaction survey that asks about everything from room cleanliness to pain management," Scott
"The standard the government expects is perfection."
Only survey scores of 9 or a perfect 10 count toward full reimbursement.
It's tough to score that high with questions such as "Did the hospital staff always manage your pain to your satisfaction?"
"This isn't Disney World they're coming to," Scott
"Our patients are in pain when they come into the ER.
It's frustrating to pull someone back from the brink of death and get them back to a good quality of life, only to get (our scores) dinged because the Jell-O wasn't cold."
Part of the challenge is that the survey questions ask if something is always done, such as explaining the purpose and side effects of medication every time it is administered.
"Still, if the goal is perfection, you know that we'll strive for it," Scott
"It's good for the public that hospitals across the country are improving on all fronts."
has taken that goal to heart.
While there is no pool on campus yet, Scott
has been consistently upgrading its facility.
It's no surprise that many of the improvements and new initiatives come from Grady Memorial's Nurse Executive Council
, of which Scott
is a member.
"Nurses are the quarterbacks of health care," Scott
adds that the hospital has moved from the 63rd percentile to the 93rd percentile for nursing communication and has scored higher on other benchmarks in the National Association of Public Hospital's rankings
"If you're going to improve patient satisfaction, you need to focus on the people who are giving the service," she