Genesis HealthCare System is the largest healthcare provider in its six-county region of southeastern Ohio, and offers a higher level of service than is often available in a community of its size—including open-heart surgery, neurosurgery, and comprehensive cancer services. As part of its commitment to delivering the high quality, compassionate patient care for which it has been recognized, Genesis incorporated a new methodology for leader rounding into its clinical workflows. Genesis made the decision to implement tools to capture patient feedback in real time, thus enabling clinicians to be more responsive and provide the best possible patient service. Genesis realized remarkable results with improved leader rounding. Patients have expressed greater satisfaction, as evidenced by a 35% increase in Genesis’ “top box” HCAHPS score. Nurse satisfaction has also been impacted by the ability to capture overwhelmingly positive patient feedback.
A growing body of evidence links patient experience to quality, safety, and financial outcomes for hospitals and health systems. In addition, HCAHPS scores are now publicly available through Medicare’s Hospital Compare website, creating transparency into organizations’ performance in multiple patient communication and satisfaction domains. As patients have more information and freedom to choose providers, it is more important than ever to ensure consistent, seamless healthcare journeys. To create market differentiation, attract new patients, and generate loyalty, organizations must integrate traditional approaches to efficiency and quality with a culture that focuses on relationships and patient-centered care.
In particular, one method of improving patient satisfaction involves hardwiring meaningful leader rounding that captures real-time, actionable patient feedback. Because HCAHPS scores are not available until at least one month after the patient survey is submitted, patient-centered organizations like Genesis were unable to proactively address patient needs, family requests, or track trends in a timely manner. By implementing Vocera® Care Rounds into the rounding practice, Genesis care team members have become more responsive to patient needs and have dramatically improved patient satisfaction.
As an organization, Genesis was not conducting rounds on a consistent basis and lacked a structured means for gathering information and taking action. Less than a handful of nurse managers were rounding on their own units, leading to an inability to observe trends. Faced with this infrequency of patient-provider interaction, Genesis recognized a need for a new methodology of connecting with patients and their families. Surveys taken after a patient’s stay offered data too late for leaders to react effectively
“Most of our interaction with patients was related to patient and family concerns that were captured in an ad hoc manner,” says Abby Nguyen, Chief Nursing Officer. “We desired continuous improvement that infused the voice of the patients and the families, because we all know that it is a huge opportunity to learn from patients and families.”
There was a need to standardize the practice of rounding and have intuitive tools in place to enable and support the process. When a nurse did round, notes were transcribed manually, which led to inefficiencies. In addition, without automation there could be delays in work orders and follow-ups with maintenance or housekeeping staff. Using Vocera Care Rounds, a push for patient-centered care was implemented at Genesis that improved workflow efficiencies by automating aspects of the follow-up process, while streamlining and standardizing rounding.
A critical piece of the Vocera Care Rounds solution is the capability to gather real-time feedback on what is transpiring with the patient and their family. By using this communication solution during leader rounding, direct insights from patients are recorded in real time, and proactively addressed before the patient leaves the hospital. By approaching patients face-toface, leaders at Genesis are able to immediately capture compliments and complaints and take action accordingly. One example involves housekeeping or dietary service requests. Leaders empowered with Vocera Care Rounds have the option to automatically send a follow-up request with comments via text and/or email notification to key contacts.
“The real-time service recovery that is possible with Vocera Care Rounds has made a huge difference in patient satisfaction,” says Nguyen. “As we are conducting leader rounding we can be in the patient’s room and immediately request help from specific departments—anything from changing a light bulb to providing a special meal.”
A process that would have been drawn out by manual paperwork is now conveniently facilitated through automated alerts for support departments. The Vocera solution will also flag patient names when a future follow-up is required. Additionally, patients know their voice is being heard, which builds confidence in the care team. This trust helps create a healing environment, elevate the patient’s experience, improve outcomes, and build lasting loyalty.
Genesis aspires for all staff to understand the Vocera Care Rounds solution and embrace its role in patient-centered care. As such, Genesis has begun including non-clinical managers and directors in leader rounding. With real-time responses, Genesis staff members have the opportunity to provide services that exceed expectations.
“We had a husband and wife in the hospital, and the husband was our patient,” recalls Nguyen. “As we were doing leader rounding, we learned that it was their 60th wedding anniversary, and we were able to call down to the dietary department and order a cake so they could celebrate while they were in the hospital.”
Since deploying Vocera Care Rounds, Genesis has witnessed a 35% increase in the hospital’s overall HCAHPS rating. As Genesis increased its practice of rounding, incorporating Vocera Care Rounds into the experience, they observed that patients actually began expecting visits from care team leaders and staff, and now proactively engage to provide feedback. By implementing a standardized rounding process and hardwiring it with Vocera Care Rounds, the patient feedback that Genesis receives is positive about 90% of the time. With more than 40 positive staff comments coming in during a week, Vocera Care Rounds helped drive a formalized staff recognition process increasing staff satisfaction and loyalty.
“I personally feel all leaders should round because none of us would be here if it wasn’t for the patient,” says Nguyen. “Clinical as well as non-clinical staff should be committed to leader rounding. It has been extremely positive for us as an organization.”