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Patient Experience Case Study - Southeastern Regional Medical Center
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Addressing Parking Challenges to Improve the Patient Experience

What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?

Southeastern Regional Medical Center faced an organizational issue with parking. They had received complaints regarding missed and late appointments for procedures due to lack of parking, and guests with limited mobility had difficulty getting to the main entrance. The program that was implemented was also an opportunity for the SRMC Foundation to collaborate with the Gift Shop to use proceeds to sponsor this value-added service at no charge to their guests.

 Bobby Williams, MHS Director of Operations and Carolyn Chavis, Valet Lead.What did you do to address it?

SRMC investigated various valet operations nation-wide and identified Metropolitan Healthcare Services (MHS) as the leader which shared their vision and mission for providing excellent customer service. This was a new start up service for SRMC and required the hiring of carefully selected employees who completed a patient focused training, which included a presentation about HCAHPS and enhancing the patient experience.

Funds earned from The Gift Shop at SRMC are being used to pay for the service. The SRMC Foundation is administering the funds for the free valet service in a unique partnership with the focus on improving access.

"The Foundation is about enhancing the health care services that we provide, not only to our patients, but to their families and the visitors who come to our facility each day,” said SRMC Foundation Director Sissy Grantham. "This service is allowing us to provide a convenience service to our community that goes beyond the typical, rural hospital experience.”

"Knowing that you have to find a place to park can add to an already stressful situation for patients and their family who are arriving at the facility, usually early in the morning, for a medical procedure,” said Gift Shop Coordinator Bonnie Biggs. "These patients and older visitors are finding that having someone else to handle parking details is allowing them to focus on their health and the health of their loved ones.”

What were the outcomes?

Since the implementation of Valet Parking, results indicate that over 240 guests each week are impacted and are provided a positive-customer service experience. In addition, other benefits include wheel-chair and Lab-drop off assistance. An opportunity was identified to improve service delivery at curb-side for community health providers (long-term care facilities, physician offices and home health agencies) to drop off lab-specimens eliminating the inconvenience of parking for delivery. This solved an unexpected "congestion” problem at the drop off area and added a valued service for the traveling nurses and the Laboratory.

About Southeastern Regional Medical Center
Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is a private, not-for-profit organization providing a vast array of health care services to meet the needs of residents of Robeson County, North Carolina (N.C)., and the surrounding region.

SRMC is located in Lumberton, a suburban area of a rural county (the largest county in the state geographically) and has been providing health care services for well over 50 years. SRMC’s main hospital facility is located on a 16-acre campus located in the heart of Lumberton. This campus features an acute-care hospital (325 beds) which includes a seven-story bed tower and numerous outpatient services. Additionally, SRMC owns or leases 39 other buildings throughout Lumberton from which a wide array of health care services are provided (including WoodHaven Nursing and Alzheimer’s Care Center, a 115-bed long-term care facility and Southeastern Hospice House, a 12-bed inpatient hospice facility SRMC operates several facilities in three adjacent counties (three primary care clinics and an outpatient substance abuse counseling program).As a non-profit organization, SRMC is operated by a local, 15-member board of trustees whose only compensation is the assurance that they are making available quality health care for their community.

SRMC is one of the largest employers in the region with about 2,000 full-time employees and 125 physicians on its medical staff. Together they demonstrate the Medical Center’s values as they work to fulfill its mission, "to provide quality regional health care in a safe, compassionate and efficient environment.”

SRMC has been accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC) for more than 40 years. That approval is evidence that the facility has been measured by national standards developed by The Joint Commission and found to be well-equipped, well-run and well-staffed. In February, 2008 SRMC was awarded "Magnet” designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and currently in the process for re-accreditation.

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