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Patient Experience Case Study - OSU Wexner Medical Center
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Implementing Tactics to Address Hospital Quietness


What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?

Significant improvement has been made in regards to patient satisfaction scores as a whole at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, but one area that was lagging was is hospital quietness. Many teams and individuals are focusing on lowering our noise levels – particularly at night – to help make our patients' stays with us more restful; to improve outcomes and raise our patient satisfaction with the care they are receiving.

What did you do to address it?

Many tactics are underway in our hospitals to help make the environment more restful and less stressful for our patients as we all do our part to reduce noise.

Tactics include:

  • Implementation of the Quiet Protocol, which standardizes procedures and environmental cues throughout the hospital as we wind down care each evening.

  • Eliminating many overhead pages by developing new protocols to alert staff throughout the hospital.

  • Reducing noise levels of elevator floor announcements to be barely audible from 20 feet away.

  • Equipping patient rooms with headphone jacks so patients can use headphones when listening to the TV especially in shared rooms and at night.

  • Adding a relaxation programming TV station for quiet reflection for patients.

  • Quarterly "squeaky wheel” campaigns conducted by Facilities to fix noisy equipment throughout the hospitals.

  • Leader rounding on units at night to observe and help solved noise problems.

  • Quiet Taskforce of night staff to help address concerns.

Additional tactics are in the planning stages to more broadly engage physicians and other staff throughout the Medical Center. Teams are also focusing on tailoring night care to the patient by eliminating non-essential tasks, asking for patient preferences and setting expectations, and communicating anticipated construction disturbances in advance.

What were the outcomes?

We began using the Quiet Protocol at the beginning of February and much of our work is still underway (headphone jacks, elevators, overhead paging, etc.) with the goal of completion in the April-June timeframe. While it is too soon to have HCAHPS patient satisfaction results, we have received feedback from staff and patients who have noticed and appreciate the difference our efforts make.

About The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Part of one of the most comprehensive health sciences campuses in the country, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center includes the College of Medicine, six hospitals, more than a dozen research institutes and primary and specialty care facilities throughout central Ohio. In 2011, U.S. News & World Report recognized 11 specialties at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center among "America’s Best”: cancer care; ear, nose and throat; gynecology; kidney disease; orthopaedics; respiratory disorders; diabetes and endocrinology; urology; heart; rehabilitation; and neurology. This is the 19th consecutive year Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center has been on the list. In addition, the College of Medicine ranked 38th overall, and is in the top 15 among public medical schools in the 2012 edition of "America’s Best” graduate schools, according to U.S. News.

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