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Patient Experience Case Study - UC Irvine
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See the opportunities and challenges healthcare organizations face in addressing the patient experience.#

Case Studies provide real stories of current efforts, including programs being initiated, practices being implemented, and outcomes being targeted and/or achieved. Case studies are presented as both an opportunity for learning from others as well as a spark for further ideas on how we work to improve the patient experience. If you have a case study you would like to share please contact us.

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Related Body of Knowledge courses: Patient & Family Centeredness.




Transforming Patient-Centered Care in Oncology
Creating continuity of care for returning patients


What was the challenge, opportunity or issue you were addressing?

In 2006, UC Irvine Healthcare began to make the transition toward relationship-based care in order to provide more patient-centered care. The oncology unit at UC Irvine Douglas Hospital saw a clear need because of the unique nature of their patients, many of whom had to return to the unit for treatment. The challenge was to create better continuity of care each time they returned. With each admission, a patient might be assigned a different nurse, who may have been unaware of their unique personal needs. A new approach was necessary in order to really create an environment that improved the patient’s overall experience while at the hospital.

What was done to address it?

To address the issue, a team discussed and decided to assign a primary nurse to every patient admitted to the oncology unit. The primary nurse would follow the patient anytime they were admitted and would create stability for the patient and act as their personal resource while in treatment. Focused solely on the patient and the patient’s family, the primary care nurse meticulously reviews the patient’s plan of care and answers any questions they may have.

What outcomes were achieved?

When this initiative was implemented UC Irvine used the "Willingness to Recommend” composite on patient surveys as a barometer of success. In 2006, the oncology unit was ranked in the 58th percentile at 72 percent top box. By 2010 the unit had move to the 87th percentile with a top box score of about 81 percent. But the program saw more than just an increase in patient satisfaction data scores; the unit saw improved relationships between patients and nurses, as well improved communication between all care providers. Challenging patients transitioned into patients that openly communicated about their needs and felt more involved with the care. Unexpectedly, the unit also saw increased communication and confidence among the nursing staff.

UC Irvine Healthcare

Orange County, California’s only university hospital, UC Irvine offers acute- and general-care services at its new, 482,000-square-foot UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and is home to the county’s only Level I trauma center, American College of Surgeons-verified regional burn center and National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. U.S. News & World Report has included UC Irvine for 10 consecutive years on its list of America’s Best Hospitals, giving special recognition to its urology, gynecology, and ear, nose & throat programs.




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