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Patient Experience Case Study - Saint Francis Health System
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Putting the Voice of the Patient in Patient Experience

What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?

Patient experience is recognized as an important component of quality at Saint Francis Health System. Often housed in various departments of a healthcare organization, Saint Francis integrates patient experience as part of the overall health system balance: the balance of clinical care, the process of care, safety and how each is consistently delivered.

Rating scale data and print commentary feedback had been the norm for monitoring patient experience and reporting out to Saint Francis unit managers and department leaders. When the health system had the opportunity to (literally) add the voice of the patient to their survey data from Professional Research Consultants, Director of Quality Bill Nole recognized an opportunity to put another piece to the puzzle and advance the process of improving the patient experience.

What did you do to address it?

The addition of PRC’s Voices® application as part of the patient experience survey process provided Saint Francis with access to digital recordings of its patient commentary feedback. The application is designed to allow approved users to listen to these comments patients make during their telephone interview. The audio feedback consists of real patient voice responses to two pointed questions: one designed to drive recognition for outstanding experiences and the second to solicit areas for improvement.

"We are always looking for ways to hear the voice of the customer, and once we understood the opportunity to hear recorded comments from patients who participated in the survey process, we recognized its ability to help move the patient experience,” said Nole. "We thought we were hearing the voice of the customer, and we were, just not in its purest form. For us, this was a huge step to providing more meaningful data and getting the voice of the patient in front of our staff.”

The digital recordings have been integrated into a variety of avenues of the patient experience reporting process at Saint Francis. More than 20 nursing units and department leaders listen weekly to their comments from patients, helping them to validate or backup data points and scores. A staff of 40 hospitalists begins their monthly meeting by listening to their patients via the recordings. And a current montage of patient comments is played regularly at a monthly management meeting of more than 80 attendees. Noteworthy comments not only recognize individual staff members and showcase what patients have said is outstanding about the care they received, but hearing what patients have to say also helps internal users reconnect as a group with the values of the health system.

"When we listen, we try to focus on what was the outstanding, because those are the clues to how we create the best possible experience,” said Nole. "One of the biggest values we see in the digital recordings is that if we are listening to what patients tell us in their own voices makes for an outstanding experience, then we can use those examples and plant ideas for our staff and see where they take root.”

What were the outcomes?

Saint Francis Health System’s HCAHPS scores continue to improve, and Nole attributes this to a variety of initiatives, including the use of PRC Voices®. The ongoing use in patient experience reporting continues to be a driver in helping to validate nursing and ancillary unit data points and scores, in addition to instilling ideas to move patient experience where the data doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s not at the expense of data, but it’s what makes the difference to better understanding the patient and their experience.

"It’s like building a puzzle, there is no single component that allows you to best understand the patient experience,” noted Nole. "Surveying by itself is one piece and consistent rounding and talking to patients and families is another piece. But patients contribute another powerful piece that helps us a lot by personalizing the survey data and helping us hear the experience through our patients’ voices.”

About Saint Francis Health System

Saint Francis Health System is an integrated, medically-based health system with an emphasis on a complete continuum of care. From services for the tiniest premature newborns, to end-of-life care options, to all medical needs in between, the physicians and staff of Saint Francis treat each patient with dignity and integrity. More than 1,100 physicians and 7,700 employees are a part of Saint Francis Health System.

Saint Francis Health System includes Saint Francis Hospital, The Children's Hospital at Saint Francis, Warren Clinic, The Heart Hospital at Saint Francis, Saint Francis Hospital South, and Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital. Visit for more information.

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