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Plan outlines how to increase UTMC patient satisfaction scores

Increased patient-centeredness and a more focused attention on providing excellent service is the heart of a new plan aimed at improving patient satisfaction ratings at The University of Toledo Medical Center.

Dr. Larry Elmer, neurology professor and medical director of the Center for Neurological Disorders, and Debra O'Connell, neurology research assistant, talked with a patient about her medical history.

Dr. Larry Elmer, neurology professor and medical director of the Center for Neurological Disorders, and Debra O'Connell, neurology research assistant, talked with a patient about her medical history.

The plan, which was unveiled at an operations leadership team meeting Jan. 19, looks to boost UTMC’s patient satisfaction scores by 15 percent over the next 11 months.

Dr. Scott Scarborough, interim vice president and executive director of UTMC, said increasing the patient satisfaction ratings is one of the last hurdles the organization must vault in order to become a world-class health-care provider.

“We know that we have the competition beat when it comes to the quality of our clinical care — it’s top of the line,” said Scarborough, who also is senior vice president for finance and administration. “But our patient satisfaction scores need some work.”

To meet this goal, the plan, which was presented by UTMC Director of Patient Satisfaction Ioan Duca, calls for the creation of seven specialized service excellence teams, each co-chaired by staff and faculty members.

“We have asked some of our best employees to come together to lead this charge,” Duca said. “We can’t implement effective change if we’re not engaging our most dedicated employees, so these teams and the talented people who lead them will be instrumental in developing the specific tactics and strategies that we’ll use to meet our goals.”

Each team has been charged with specific goals and measurement tools with which to report progress. The teams are:

• Patient and customer engagement team led by Chris Kosinski and Monecca Smith;

• Physician engagement team led by Dr. Ron McGinnis and Dr. Mary R. Smith;

• Employee engagement team led by Jim Nowaczyk and Connie Rubin;

• Outpatient Surgery Center service excellence team led by Ed Hall and Arlene Ford-Bond;

• Emergency Department service excellence team led by Dr. Walid Mahmoud and Tammie Yeager;

• Culture and communication team led by Amy Finkbeiner and Esther Fabian; and

• Measurement team led by Jovonne Foster and Cindy O’Connell.

A few of the goals the teams will look to accomplish are establishing hourly patient rounding with a purpose in all clinical departments; deploying universal staff scripts to provide patients with appropriate and consistent messaging; hardwiring new standards of behavior, and identifying and removing employee irritants; creating a daily communication huddle in each department; and reducing the patient wait time significantly.

The leaders from each team will form the service excellence steering committee, which will be led by Duca, Scarborough and Marge McFadden, hospital administrator. Duca and Scarborough both see this plan as the necessary next step in cementing UTMC’s position as a world-class hospital.

“In order to survive in the competitive health-care realities of today, we need to become a high-performing organization when it comes to service and the patient experience,” Scarborough said. “If we don’t do it, somebody else will do it.”

“Our patients have options,” Duca said. “And we want to give them every reason in the world to choose The University of Toledo Medical Center.”