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Transforming patient experience through a culture of excellence

Transforming patient experience through a culture of excellence

Defining a culture of excellence is crucial to delivering an exceptional patient experience. When healthcare providers commit to excellence, they are more likely to deliver quality care that meets or exceeds patient expectations.

During the recent NRC Health 2023 Pediatric Collaborative, Matt Chance, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Rite for Children in Dallas, said that many of us have worked in different organizations where the culture is difficult to define—especially if there is a lot of bad behavior around that culture. 

“We really are very intentional about being specific with the words we use to define our culture,” says Chance. “We treat everyone with honesty, compassion, acceptance, and excellence. We create goals to achieve new successes. We are a positive influence for change. We use technology to advance and enhance our work. We are flexible and adaptable. We are very intentional about defining just those core values.” 

Scottish Rite for Children builds its culture by providing specific examples to staff that exemplify CARE RITE behavior, and the staff-recognition program reinforces those core values. 

Angie Buckmeier, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Scottish Rite for Children, says she loves this quote from the book Patients Come Second: “The best way to improve the patient experience is to build better engagement with your employees, who will then provide better service and healthcare to patients and families.”  

“So that’s what our key is: to ensure that we’re investing in that manner,” Buckmeier says. “We have a very employee-friendly workplace and do many of the same things other health systems do: offer competitive salaries and benefits packages for your employees. One of the things that we’re most proud of is that we have received ‘Top 100 Best Places to Work’ recognition over the past five years—and we’re measured against other industries.” 

An Investment in Culture Pays Off Big 

Building an excellence culture pays off in many ways, including workforce loyalty: 

Vacancy Rates 

  • All positions: 7% (market average: 15%) 
  • Nursing positions: 6% (market average: 18%) 

Turnover Rates 

  • All positions: 12% (market average: 21%) 
  • Nursing positions: 4% (market average: 22%) 

The average tenure for an employee at Scottish Rite for Children in Dallas is a decade. 

Buckmeier says that the organization has come a long way from doing patient surveys on paper and rewarding people with popcorn if they turned in their paper by the end of the day! “We have a very formalized approach with NRC Health, and we’re very excited to celebrate all the successes through the years that they’ve been able to accomplish with taking care of our patients and families.” 

Buckmeier adds that as they look at their NRC Health data, they see opportunities to improve ease of access for patients and families to get them in and provided with a referral. And she notes that it’s important to ensure that they look at health equity too: “When considering the social determinants of health, we want to have the best care for those patients and families as possible, so we’ve got to incorporate that into our patient experience.  

“If you look from the greeter, to the security, to housekeeping, to the surgeon, to orthopedics—they know people’s names,” she says. “They know their position and what they do, and that’s what stands out to me. People make an impact and a true personal connection with patients.” 

Obsession with Patient Experience  

“When we transitioned to real-time, the amount of data exploded on the outpatient surveys, so we’re 45%” Chance says. “Inpatient is around 40%. I think our day areas have probably the lowest-percentage response rate, but the families want to give us great feedback. We talked a little bit about putting our comments on our website; we tried a couple of years ago to do that and motivate the doctors to approve that. And I think we will go back and do something similar, because the comments are just fantastic.”

Transparent Monitoring 

  • Weekly review of comments and results 
  • Monthly patient-experience committee meeting includes multidisciplinary participation, where the organization develops a plan for improvement and sustainability, plans to celebrate success, and monthly data reporting across the organization 

Real-time Follow-up on Service Alerts 

  • Process for distribution or patient comments to key leaders 
  • Loop closure on concerns with frontline leaders or executive leadership, as warranted 
  • Celebration of wins with staff 

Click here for more on this presentation and the NRC Health 2023 Pediatric Collaborative.