Archive September 2017 XVIII, No. 9

Patient Satisfaction: Hired to Exceed Expectations

For the staff of Mackinac Straits Health System Surgery Center, going "above and beyond" is part of the job.

Bill Donahue, Senior Editor

2017 OR Excellence Award: Patient Satisfaction
staff members collaborate HANDS-ON HANDOFF Staff members collaborate to guide each patient through the surgical journey from the moment they arrive.
THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK A thank-you card signed by all members of a patient's care team doubles as a quality-assurance survey.

The patient called in a panic. She was stranded on the southern side of the Mackinac Bridge connecting Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas, as strong winds made crossing the span too precarious for her high-profile camper. As a result, she was in danger of missing her scheduled colonoscopy at the outpatient surgery department of Mackinac Straits Health System in St. Ignace, Mich.

The patient had mentally prepared herself for the procedure, and she'd also completed the bowel prep, so the last thing she wanted to do was reschedule. A kind voice from Mackinac Straits Health System Surgery Center told her something she didn't quite expect: "Don't worry. We'll take care of it."

A surgery scheduler called the Mackinac Bridge Authority and arranged to have the patient and her husband driven across the bridge. The same scheduler then met the couple on the northern side and escorted them to the facility so the patient could have her colonoscopy. Afterward, the scheduler made arrangements to have husband and wife taken back to their waiting camper.

"That's the kind of effort that makes a huge difference, and it's just one example of the kinds of things we're willing to do for patients every day," says Kathy Weihman, RN, BSN, a surgical nurse with the multispecialty surgical facility. "Exceeding patients' expectations is where we stand out. We may be small, but in that regard we are mighty."

Caring reputation
Although it's just 3 years old, the multispecialty outpatient surgery department has already earned a reputation for delivering a patient experience far beyond satisfactory. Whether it's for cataract surgery, general surgery, an orthopedic scope or some other procedure, staff members take a hands-on approach to guiding the patient through the surgical journey from the moment they arrive.

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A surgery scheduler greets patients at the entrance to the surgery department for registration. The scheduler then escorts patients directly to a private pre-operative room, where they are "handed off" to an RN. There, the patient and his or her family member can relax in recliners with the built-in comforts of massage and heat settings. Once the patient heads off to surgery, a staff member guides the family member to a beautifully kept waiting area with high-def TVs, refreshments and a digital tracking board so they'll know when a loved one has entered the recovery area.

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