Hospital survey shows mixed results in customer expectations

Results from The Memorial Hospital's new survey service, although inconclusive, gave the hospital something to feel good about.

Avatar, which is the new survey agency used in the hospital since January, aims to poll 100 percent of patients going to the emergency room as well as inpatient and outpatient services.

"They are proven leaders in their field," said Pam Thompson, community relations director at The Memorial Hospital.

The response for the amount of people who have filled out questionnaires that the hospital has received so far is less than great, according to Betsy Blair, performance improvement director for the hospital.

"Avatar has given us some wording to encourage them (patients) to respond," Blair said.

The figures that did come in were not far off from national averages.

The studies poll both actual results and expectations of the patients. Overall, The Memorial Hospital scored 86.86 percent as far as satisfaction of service while the facility scored 86.84 percent with expectations of service.

In one of the three main categories, emergency, inpatient and ambulatory surgery, the

hospital scored higher than the national average.

When the categories were broken down the survey showed the hospital is meeting most patients' expectations.

Emergency Department

The scores showed that the hospital is not meeting patients' expectations in pain management and billing. Billing was slightly below a national average.

"Some award-winning hospitals gave presentations (at an Avatar conference in Denver) and their goals for billing and key results were in the yellow," Blair said.

The yellow refers to a graph in which results shown in green meant good, yellow meant a need for improvement and red referred to results that were significantly below patient satisfaction.

Comments from questionnaires for the emergency department ranged from "Make sure CAT scan is working so some person doesn't have to be air lifted to St. Mary's in Grand Junction" to "Great staff and

doctor."

Inpatient

Results in this category showed that leaving the hospital was not up to patient expectations, however, physician care ranked significantly higher at TMH than the national average.

Outpatient

The outpatient surveys showed that expectations were being met in almost all categories. Billing was once again a notable exception. Comments on questionnaires here included "We need more surgeons -- exit signs lead to locked doors" and several commendations of the staff.

"Right now the results and comments are being presented back to managers," Blair said.

The next project is to begin to identify priorities and strategies for an improvement effort. And to focus on what the hospital really wants to in terms of customer service, Blair said.

"Our plan is to take a year and get more and richer data with Avatar," she said.

Liz King is an intern with the Craig Daily Press. She can be reached at 824-7031 or lking@craigdailypress.com

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