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Improving the Clinic Experience through Patient Surveying
What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?
Patient experience is recognized as an important component of quality care at Dell Children’s Medical Center and its associated clinics. A challenge that the Craniofacial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Center of Dell Children’s Medical Center faced was related to receiving patient experience survey responses in a timely manner and in quantities that were representative of the number of patients seen in the clinic. Patient experience surveys currently were conducted by phone, include up to 50 questions and could occur up to 30 days from the date of service. This presented an opportunity for the Craniofacial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Center to create a survey method to collect sufficient data to support improvement projects.
What did you do to address it?
To address the survey issues, the Craniofacial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Center implemented a seven question patient experience survey. The survey is provided to the patient on paper at the completion of their consultation and the intent is to have the survey completed then in real-time. The questions on the survey target the patient experience areas of wait times, active listening by the provider, patient education, helpfulness/courtesy of staff and phone response of clinic if applicable, and there is a comment section to allow the patient to include anything additional related to their experience.
Clinic staff were involved in the planning of the survey content and implementation to ensure minimal interruption to the patients exiting the clinic after their consultation. The completed surveys are placed in a locked box in the waiting room and are later collected by an appointed staff member for response data entry. The concept of a shortened, real-time completed patient experience survey revolves around the idea that the best recollection of the experience occurs immediately, and that responses will be increased by promoting the survey to become part of their exiting plan. Survey collection and data entry by appointed staff members allows for quicker reporting of responses in order to support improvement projects.
What were the outcomes?
The Craniofacial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Center of Dell Children’s Medical Center has seen a response rate of approximately 50% since implementing the new patient experience survey. This is an increase from <30% with the previous survey method. A patient experience committee has been formed which consists of clinic staff members and managers. This committee meets monthly and is tasked at reviewing the survey data and deciding on improvements needed. The committee has set a goal to initiate one improvement project each month. Thus far the committee has initiated three improvement projects.
The survey data identified the need for a more child-friendly atmosphere in the clinic. Child life specialists were brought in as consultants and new flooring, wall décor, toys and books were brought into the waiting room and exam rooms. Second, the committee identified the need for an information brochure highlighting specialties offered in the clinic, procedures/surgeries performed by the providers, and a map with directions to the clinic and Dell Children’s Medical Center. This brochure will assist individuals who do not have internet access to receive the information currently available just on the clinic’s web site. The brochure will be available in English and Spanish. The third outcome of the survey data and committee was after a patient/staff safety issue was identified. A lock has been placed on the door between the waiting room and exam room area of the clinic. This lock allows front desk staff to control who enters the back part of clinic and when.
It is evident that the newly implemented patient experience survey has resulted in positive changes in the clinic. It is anticipated that many more improvement projects will result due to continued commitment to patient experience.
> Download a copy of the survey
About The Craniofacial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Center of Dell Children’s Medical Center
The Craniofacial and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Center of Dell Children’s Medical Center is located in the Strictly Pediatrics building on Barbara Jordan Blvd. It brings together physicians, allied health and other supporting services for the comprehensive treatment of children and adolescents with congenital malformations or traumatic injuries. Healthcare specialists from multidisciplinary fields work together to provide complete care to their young patients. Well-coordinated care offered in one hospital setting streamlines treatments, making it better for patients, their families and healthcare providers alike. Children and their families become familiar with a treatment setting that is close to their home, while healthcare providers work together to improve the outcomes of their patients. Programs offered in the center include a Craniofacial Program, Pediatric Dentistry, a Hand Program, a Vascular Malformations Program, and a General/Reconstructive Plastics Program.