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Patient Experience Case Study - CGH
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Using Patient Life Stories to Create a "Wow" Experience in Delivering Patient-Centered Care

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


How do you create that "WOW” experience and give really patient-centered care? How do you individualize the care? How do you send messages that you genuinely care for the patient as a person and not a room number or diagnosis? How can you improve the patient care experience for physicians and others on the care-delivery team? How do you best serve the family of the patient?

What was done to address it?

We think that the best way to personalize the care is with the use of the patients’ life story. We use the Living History Program©. We have a team of trained volunteers who interview select patients using a standard format and find out about the broad-stroke details of their life. Then we write a one-page life story. We give it to the patient and the family as a gift, and we put one copy on the bulletin board in the patient’s room, and another on the medical record. We ask those who are caring for the patient to read the story and find ways to improve their connectivity with the patient and the family. (Click here to view a real patient life story)

What outcomes were achieved?

Patient satisfaction is improving on our inpatient units, we are getting great feedback on the stories that have been written, patients and families write positive comments back to us. Here is an example: "This is a GREAT story about my life. Thank you so much for caring about others in your life. This is great what you do.”
About CGH Medical Center
CGH Medical Center is a progressive acute care facility located in the Rock River Valley region of Northern Illinois. Since opening in 1909, CGH has earned a strong reputation throughout the region and consistently receives high ratings for positive public awareness and patient satisfaction. CGH Medical Center is committed to meeting expanding patient needs and to providing leadership in the field of healthcare. This includes broad scale public education and free to low-cost early detection activities.

A major expansion was completed in spring of 2008, which produced important advancements.A new suite of surgical rooms accommodates more advanced procedures. A new Obstetrics Department and Birthing Center offers innovative technology, advanced security and private rooms. These additions, along with a new Critical Care Unit, expanded space for Diagnostic Imaging and physician services, and a new helicopter pad, enhance the level and quality of our patient care.

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