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Patient experience solution increases rapid cycle improvement for Magnet redesignation

It takes foundational structures and process, shared leadership, education, validation,
feedback, care standards, regulatory compliance, data collection and outstanding outcomes for hospitals to achieve the coveted and prestigious Magnet designation, the gold standard in patient care.

Dayton Children’s Hospital is one of only 31 Magnet-designated organizations in Ohio and represents approximately 7% of all of the highest-ranking U.S. healthcare organizations. To achieve this comprehensive designation, hospitals must have high-quality, consistent, and timely data to meet criteria measuring their processes.

The Magnet designation is highly sought-after—its hospitals have lower patient mortality, fewer medical complications, improved patient and employee safety, and higher patient and staff satisfaction. Dayton Children’s Hospital leadership found all the innovative, forward-thinking functionality needed to achieve their Magnet redesignation through NRC Health’s experience solution.

NRC Health’s robust data collection made it easier for Dayton Children’s Hospital leadership to:

  • Use data transparency to rally staff around hospital and Magnet benchmarks
  • Analyze patient comments to point out opportunities for coaching
  • Find unexpected areas for experimental improvement
  • Increase their Net Promoter Score to 86.0 (well above the national average)








Dayton Children’s Hospital enjoys an impressive position in its local market. Situated between Columbus and Cincinnati, Dayton Children’s serves patients from 20 different counties in Ohio, making it a landmark destination for a large portion of the state.

Dayton Children’s has cultivated a resilient reputation for outstanding care and excellent customer service. Leadership strives to ensure that every patient encounter lives up to the organization’s stellar reputation of going “above and beyond”, starting before a patient arrives and concluding after their visit. The hospital measures the difference between what patients and their family members expect and what they ultimately receive in order to build a high trust factor and fuel recommendation influence.

In 2013, Dayton Children’s received nursing’s highest honor: A Magnet designation nationally recognizing the hospital as providing the gold standard in patient care and the professional practice of nursing, granted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). One of the most prestigious honors a hospital can achieve, Magnet recognition provides a roadmap to nursing excellence that benefits the whole organization. Dayton Children’s received a subsequent redesignation in 2018.

Ever wonder what it takes for a hospital to maintain that high honor when they see more than 382,000 patients each year through their inpatient, emergency department, and outpatient settings? It takes a strategic roadmap with a team capable of monitoring requirements, information, supplemental documents, and other fluctuating criteria. To ensure continued patient success, leaders at Dayton’s Children turned to NRC Health’s experience solution to ensure that their loyalty, quality, and service remained high.


NRC Health’s automated patient experience survey attempts to reach 100% of patients within 48–72 hours of their care episodes. Contacting customers via email or interactive voice recording (IVR) technology, NRC Health reaches patients where they are, accelerating survey turnaround times and driving up response rates. 


The survey also uses open-ended question fields to solicit patients’ candid feedback. This gives patients the chance to voice their authentic concerns and give providers specific, meaningful points for improvement or praise. 


In short, NRC Health’s feedback capabilities give leaders timely information about their organizations’ experiential performance, and perhaps even more importantly, gives them robust, reliable data that they can use to support strategic improvements. 

“When I saw how easy the NRC tool was for our team to use, I said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great!’ What we keep striving for is to have data and information to learn from and build our action plans to exceed our goals.”

Jayne Gmeiner, MS, RN, Vice President for Patient Care Services and CNO, Dayton Children’s Hospital



Using a 100% outreach feature where surveys are sent via email, phone, or text, NRC Health gathers five times more comments, providing the kind of transparency that has helped validate Dayton Children’s feedback since 2018. When the comprehensive solution was aligned with the requirements of Dayton Children’s Magnet Steering Committee, it allowed the team to assess how they were performing at a glance—a critical ability, given the ANCC’s continually developing playbook.

Using the NRC Health experience solution, the Dayton Children’s team receives responses in hours, not weeks. With this feedback, they can then quickly identify and compare scores from different departments alongside their benchmark scores, helping them efficiently schedule and pursue different improvement tactics.

“This is a faster way for them specifically to look at their Magnet data, compared to the benchmark.”

Susan Powell, Magnet Program Director, Dayton Children’s Hospital


Dayton Children’s Hospital keeps track of all Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycles that they’ve completed in areas for improvement, and with NRC Health’s functionalities they can focus on specific questions, such as how they rank on nurse courtesy and respect. Leadership can also regularly evaluate each provider and have weekly reports delivered that monitor providers’ scores.

Dayton Children’s managers and directors can assess the current status of their Magnet indicators with a single look at a customized dashboard. Every week gives them a pivot point in the form of their Net Promoter Score, and by reviewing patient data from NRC Health regularly, they can help the organization improve more quickly. Even in cases in which they receive a 10, they will use a service-recovery workflow to reach out immediately if a comment is concerning.

Dayton Children’s leadership looks for consistent themes in the data with communication being a top factor. With a record number of new staff members who started employment during the pandemic, they noticed occasional gaps in communication with families about their wait times, which they’ve since been able to address. The patient feedback function provides them with year-to-date and monthly data to review, so they are on top of the quality effort, all the time.

“Every week, all of us get our comments from the surveys. We get the good and the bad. I read every comment, and we enforce those communication gaps in our huddles every day in the ED. We know the provider is key in the ED, because that’s why people are here. But we look at the whole picture to see if there are other areas that we can make improvements in, and then try to do that.”

Tami Wiggins, Senior Director of Emergency and On Demand Access, Dayton Children’s Hospital


The way feedback data has been reported across the hospital system has been very impactful. Dayton Children’s employs a strategy of complete transparency: every Emergency Department provider’s NPS was made fully visible to every other employees. This way, providers could understand precisely where they stood among their peers.

The hospital also devised customized (and private) ED Provider Scorecards, which broke down the specific domains of each provider’s performance. By seeing the numbers displayed with such clarity has gave each clinician focused areas for improvement.

They have used the data from NRC Health data to give their coaching program more structure. By utilizing the experience data, nursing leadership segmented their staff into high-, middle-, and low-performers. They evenly distributed these performance tiers to each leader so that each leader had the chance to interact with a wide variety of staff members.

“I look at where my providers sit every week in collaboration with Dr. Thomas Krzmarzick, Dr. Rick Strait and Dr. Lisa Ziemnik our ED/Urgent Care/KidsExpress Provider Leaders. If they are below 75 for a sustained period, then they get coaching as to what they can do better. We look at all those things in all of my areas.”

Tami Wiggins, Senior Director of Emergency and On Demand Access, Dayton Children’s Hospita


There’s nothing better for Dayton Children’s leadership than sharing NRC’s patient feedback data on a Friday evening to help them celebrate what their team has accomplished that week. By recognizing that it has been another great week for the patients at Dayton Children’s Hospital, the leadership is motivated to continue to develop their service culture and support the high standard of patient experience.

Using transparency to further quality and outcomes, Dayton Children’s Hospital will continue to build depth of patient loyalty, retention, and community insights using the most immediate actionable data available. While their current Magnet designation is a significant milestone to have reached, Dayton Children’s Hospital leadership is confident and prepared for the pursuit of their next designation and to continue to provide the highest level of patient experience for the community.


For more on  NRC Health solutions,
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