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Archive September 2020 XXI, No. 9

Patient Satisfaction: Easing Minds at the Front Door

The outpatient surgery team at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania reduced the anxiety of surgery patients and their loved ones at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Adam Taylor

BIO

MEET AND GREET
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
MEET AND GREET HUP's outpatient surgical staff formed three-person teams to meet all their patients' needs upon arrival.

The news came on Monday, April 6. Due to the coronavirus, visitors were no longer allowed to escort their loved ones to the operating rooms at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia. Ann Marie Morris, MSN, RN, CNOR, CSSGB, an associate clinical director of perioperative quality and safety, remembers her first thought: “If I were a patient, I’d be so frightened if I had to get dropped off and come into the hospital by myself. If I were a family member, I couldn’t imagine leaving my loved one at the door to fend for themself.”

Ms. Morris immediately went to work. She devised HUP’s Patient Receiving and Escort Process, which redeployed the hospital’s outpatient surgery center staff to meet patients at the hospital’s front door in the roles of greeters, scribes and escorts. They piloted the program on Wednesday. It was up and running the next day and remained in action for six weeks.

The willingness of the entire outpatient surgery staff to step outside of their usual roles and go the extra mile for anxious patients and their loved ones make HUP the winner of the 2020 OR Excellence Award for Patient Satisfaction.

Ms. Morris and Joyce Stengel, HUP’s perioperative coordinator of quality education, worked with the hospital’s security department to get access to the vehicle lane closest to the facility’s front doors. Automated pre-op calls were replaced with personal calls, so staff could tell patients and families to look for the greeters at the front door, and to be prepared that only the patient would be allowed to enter the hospital.

Elective procedures at HUP’s outpatient surgery center were canceled. Nurses, surgical techs and clerical staff from the surgery center were redeployed into three-person teams that greeted vehicles from 5 a.m. until the last surgery patient of the day had arrived.

“The roles were interchangeable and integral to our success,” says Ms. Morris. “Nurses handled the clinical questions, those who were the most enthusiastic were tapped as greeters and staffers with the best handwriting were assigned as scribes because there was no time to get electronic tablets. The remainder served as patient escorts.”

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