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Patient Experience Case Study - Women & Infants
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Women and Infants of Rhode Island

Building an Expanded Patient Experience Program

What was the challenge, opportunity or issue we faced?
Develop a larger and more centralized patient experience program

We had an opportunity to capitalize on the success of the hospital’s Patient and Family Centered Care Program and develop a larger and more centralized program encompassing family-centered care, patient satisfaction, patient relations and patient amenities.

In 2003, Women & Infants began the journey to become a truly patient- and family-centered (PFCC) hospital. Under the leadership of a new COO, a multidisciplinary team comprised of 15 leaders and clinical staff attended an Institute for Family Centered Care (IFCC) conference to learn the concepts and practices of a patient- and family-centered organization.

Following the IFCC conference, the team created a PFCC steering committee charged with the task of implementing a patient- and family-centered plan. After researching best practices and reconvening as the PFCC Committee, the group recommended that the hospital create a position dedicated to operationalizing patient- and family-centered care and form a Patient and Family Advisory Council. Under the leadership of the new director of PFCC and with the support of the hospital’s leadership, the new Patient and Family Advisory Council held its first meeting in January 2007. The Council immediately started to impact the hospital, helping to create a more patient- and family-centered experience. Over the course of three years, this group and other unit-based advisory councils have become an integral part of the hospital’s daily operations.

As the hospital’s journey to become patient and family-centered continued, additional positions were created in the PFCC program to allow it to grow and support the hospital’s goals. Ultimately, a department of one director became a team of four full-time positions dedicated to PFCC programs and initiatives.

What we did to address it?

Refocusing on Patient and Family Experience

In the summer of 2010, spurred by the director of PFCC’s decision to retire at the end of the year, staff began to reorganize and restructure the program. Through this process, extensive research was done to identify best practices in the role and structure of similar programs. Ultimately, this led to the development of a plan to transform the PFCC program into a broader Patient and Family Experience program. This new organizational structure aligned the hospital’s current PFCC initiatives with the hospital’s various patient satisfaction initiatives. The reorganized Patient and Family Experience (PFE) Department now oversees:

  • Patient and family advisory councils
  • Patient satisfaction (Press Ganey)
  • Patient relations
  • Patient and guest services/amenities
  • Interpretation services

The newly formed Patient and Family Experience team is comprised of four key roles, including:

  • Assistant director, patient and family experience
  • Patient experience and satisfaction specialist
  • Patient and guest services coordinator
  • Family liaison

The broader scope of the Patient and Family Experience team and the connection of these vital roles has been an important step in a broader and more focused patient experience effort.

What outcomes are we achieving?

Expanded patient and family experience efforts

Patient and Family Experience (PFE) staff have worked with hospital leadership to identify the goals and strategic priorities of the program and to ensure the support and buy-in of key stakeholders and influencers around the hospital. One current PFE initiative is the formation of a task force comprised of clinical, nursing and administrative leadership to look at strategies that will ensure the experience of women delivering at Women & Infants meets their clinical and non-clinical expectations.

PFE is taking the global perspective to oversee how each of the hospital’s individual areas and services come together to create the ideal patient and family experience. Some early initiatives are:

  • Creating new service excellence standards
  • Developing customer service and communication skills training for managers and staff
  • Developing a new template for patient white boards that will enhance patient and care team communication
  • Developing a social media group for families of patients in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Making upgrades to the hospital’s guest sleeper chair to improve the experience of patients/family members who choose to stay the night
  • Developing a mystery shopper program to ensure a uniform and consistent experience at the hospital’s various outpatient practices
  • Collaborating with the hospital’s volunteer services program to develop an obstetric patient discharge process that will help escort new families being discharged
  • Developing a centralized location for staff compliments from grateful patients and family members
  • Examining the use of new technologies, such as interactive television systems, to enhance the patient experience
Having a dedicated team looking at how each of the hospital’s individual parts and touch points come together to create the overall Woman & Infants experience has been a tremendous benefit to the hospital. It’s our hope that the PFE program will continue to grow and impact that lives of our patients and their family members.


About Women and Infants

Women & Infants Hospital is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns and a U.S. News & World ReportBest Hospital in Gynecology.

Women & Infants is the primary teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine. Women & Infants is the seventh largest obstetrical service in the country, with more than 8,500 deliveries last year. In 2009, Women & Infants opened the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Scores have been at the 85th percentile or higher consecutively the last 17 quarters (4yrs).

In 2004 we were recognized by Press Ganey as one of the Top Improving performers in Academic Medical Centers.


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