The University of Toledo Medical Center’s patient satisfaction efforts were highlighted last week in a New York Times story discussing how hospitals nationwide increasingly are expected to provide outstanding customer service in addition to great health care.
According to the article, patients “can be influenced not just by the quality of their care, but also by amenities like single rooms, renovated units and tasty food.”
Reporter Jordan Rau wrote, “Many hospitals have devised detailed scripts that doctors and nurses follow when interacting with patients, telling them what to expect and often extolling the care they are getting. This fall, The University of Toledo Medical Center launched an internal ‘iCARE University’ dedicated to training employees on improving patients’ experiences.”
More than 2,000 UTMC employees have been through iCARE training to help master soft skills like communication, active listening, personal stress management and empathy.
Dr. Scott Scarborough, senior vice president and executive director of UTMC, said the hospital is benefitting from the leadership position it is taking in implementing changes to enhance the patient experience.
“Patients expect more of us, and we need to deliver,” Scarborough said. “This mention and particularly our positive Joint Commission visit indicate we’re farther down the road than many hospitals and that’s great. But even being at the leading edge of this transformation nationwide, we still have a long way to go.”
Starting in 2012, new Medicare rules will include patient satisfaction in the formula to determine how much hospitals are paid for the care they provide.
Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, chancellor, executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, said that as the health-care industry evolves, academic medical centers increasingly will be asked to provide leadership to navigate those changes.
“As The New York Times article highlights, great patient care is the responsibility of every single hospital employee in every role,” Gold said. “I’m incredibly proud that the work we’ve done so far has received national attention, and given the results of last week’s outstanding Joint Commission accreditation visit, I’m confident the work we’ll do in the future will continue to enhance the reputation of The University of Toledo Medical Center.”