How to Achieve Focused Excellence

Is there one common key to excellent patient experience, patient safety, and quality?

Doctor with patient

Healthgrades 2017 Outstanding Patient Experience and Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients demonstrate that the answer is yes. The key is focus.

Focused Communication

The HCAHPS survey is a complex tool to measure patients’ experience during their hospital stays. But over eight consecutive years, Healthgrades has consistently found that there is only one factor in the survey that correlates strongly with patient answers to two questions:

  1. An overall hospital rating of 9 or 10 (out of 10), and
  2. Response of “Yes, I would recommend this hospital”

That factor is patient agreement with the statement, “Nurses always communicated well.” Positive patient experience and hospital recommendations are most dependent on consistent nurse communication. If your hospital is among the 443 Outstanding Patient Experience Award recipients in 2017, you probably already know that. In contrast, a quiet environment at night matters least to patient satisfaction with your hospital.

To deliver an outstanding patient experience, focus on nurse communication during each patient contact. No matter how insignificant the interaction, patients want to know what their care involves, why each task is being performed, and how it affects their outcomes. Only then will they know your clinicians are delivering the best care possible.

Focused Surgical Error Prevention

Keeping patients safe also requires focus. As Healthgrades has found before, three potentially preventable patient safety events make up nearly two-thirds of those reported. They are:

  • 25.7%: Accidental cut, puncture, perforation, or hemorrhage occurring most frequently during colorectal, bowel obstruction, and small intestine surgeries
  • 24.3%: Collapsed lung occurring most frequently during cardiac procedures like pacemaker implantation
  • 15.9%: Catheter-related bloodstream infection most frequently associated with cardiac and gastrointestinal surgeries

These events happen most often during and after cardiac and gastrointestinal surgeries. That means focusing on three surgically related patient safety threats within two specialty areas could significantly impact your hospital’s overall rate of patient safety events. In turn, that focus could improve your clinical outcomes.

For example, 2017 Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients are 2.3 times more likely to generate superior outcomes (lower risk-adjusted rates of complications and mortality) in spinal surgery than non-recipient hospitals. They are 1.6 times more likely to do it in cardiology and pulmonary care. These results add up, as this year’s Patient Safety Excellence Award recipients are nearly three times as likely to achieve a 5-star rating in pacemaker procedures, and 2.5 and 2 times more likely in gallbladder surgery and defibrillator procedures, respectively.

Focus Matters

Patient experience, patient safety, and clinical quality outcomes confirm it: Focus matters. In patient rooms, ensure nurses communicate early and often with their charges. In the operating room and during post-operative care, start investigating the causes of the three most-reported patient safety events related to cardiac and gastrointestinal surgery.

Narrow your focus to maximize your patient experience and patient safety results.

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