TRH scores high in patient satisfaction

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One of 10 hospitals in Kentucky to receive Outstanding Patient Experience Award.

By Calen McKinney


Taylor Regional Hospital has made the grade.

When it comes to patient satisfaction, TRH has scored in the Top 10 of the 126 hospitals in Kentucky.

The nonprofit group Healthgrades, headquartered in Denver, Colo., recently named TRH as a recipient of its Outstanding Patient Experience Award.

TRH CEO Jane Wheatley said scoring high on patient satisfaction is something she and her employees are especially proud.

"We were very pleased," she said. "We have been putting a lot of emphasis on patient satisfaction."

Nine other Kentucky hospitals received the honor. See a list of them in a sidebar to this story. All 126 hospitals were eligible to receive the award. This is the first year TRH has received it.

Healthgrades has collected, reported and explained the importance of health care data since 1998.

According to this year's Healthgrades report, the award is given based on how a hospital performs on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey for its patient visit between April 2012 and March 2013. Overall, there were 447 hospitals in the United States to receive the award.

The consumer assessment survey, according to a Healthgrades report, is the first national, standardized and publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives on the care they receive at hospitals.

The survey asks 27 questions that involve 10 specific measures, including overall satisfaction, willingness to recommend to family and friends, communication with doctors and nurses, responsiveness of staff, pain management, communication about medications, discharge instructions, cleanliness and quietness.

When being considered for the award, the Healthgrades report states, hospitals are measured in clinical quality, patient safety, patient experience, readmission rates and timely and effective care.

In the clinical quality category, TRH scored "as expected" for all but one of the categories.

When it comes to patient safety, according to the Healthgrades report, TRH scores as "average" in five of the nine indicators. In the other four, it is labeled as "worse than average."

In patient experience, TRH scored very high rankings. When asked to rank TRH on a scale of 1 to 10, 69 percent of those surveyed ranked the hospital as a 9 or 10. That is the same score as the national average.

When asked if patients felt their doctors "always" communicated well when treating and meeting with them, 86 percent said they do. That's higher than the national average of 81 percent.

Sixty-six percent of TRH patients reported that they "always" received help as soon as they wanted it. That's higher than the 56-percent national average.

When it comes to cleanliness, 74 percent of TRH patients reported that they felt their room was "always" clean. That's also higher than the national average.

When asked if they would recommend the hospital, 72 percent of TRH patients said they would. Nationally, 70 percent said yes.

In the readmission category, TRH scored at the national averages of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients coming back to the hospital for treatment within 30 days after leaving. The rates in those categories are all lower than 26 percent.

The Healthgrades report also shows that patients at TRH, when compared nationally, receive timely and effective care.

Wheatley said each hospital is required to have a patient survey to get feedback about the care its employees give. When a patient leaves TRH, they will receive a satisfaction survey in the mail.

TRH uses Press Ganey, she said, to analyze the surveys, which are mailed directly to the company. And then Healthgrades, she said, reviews that data too. This shows, she said, that the results of the Healthgrades report truly come directly from how hospitals operate and treat patients.

"They pull it off the surveys," she said.

The Heathgrades organization doesn't ask hospitals to pay for their services, Wheatley said, which shows that its results are based solely on survey results and not which hospitals are willing to pay for feedback.

This is the first year that such surveys can impact Medicare reimbursement, so Wheatley says that only heightens their importance.

Receiving the award, Wheatley said, shows residents that they can get great care without leaving their community.

"To us, it means that we are meeting and exceeding the expectations of the people in the community," she said.

Wheatley said it's very important to her that residents feel they can come to TRH and receive quality care.

"Because we know now patients have choices," she said.

Wheatley said she and her employees constantly work toward making sure they are meeting their patients' needs. A committee of several doctors and nurses meets each morning, she said, to discuss every patient at the hospital to be sure they are receiving the treatment they need.

"We're trying really hard," Wheatley said.

She said she believes the community is fortunate to have such great doctors who are dedicated to their patients, and often see them out in the community, from the grocery store to church.

"It just makes a huge difference when your doctor is part of your community."

And when receiving a complaint or some negative comments on a survey, Wheatley said she encourages her employees to see that as a learning experience and a way to improve.

"You can't please everybody," she said.

Wheatley said she receives survey results from Press Ganey on a daily basis. Those results are shared with the head of several departments. And employees see them too, as do board members.

"They know what is taking place as well and we follow up on all complaints."

Wheatley said she is especially proud that the majority of patients would recommend TRH to others.

"That's the highest honor you can get, that somebody would want to recommend you."

TRH is in the midst of planning its annual baby fair on May 22 and health fair on June 14, both of which are open to the public. Booth space is available for the fair. For more information, call (270) 789-5814.

Wheatley said the hospital will also soon welcome a full-time neurologist to its staff, Dr. Jill Blandford of Marion County.

For more information about Healthgrades, or to see TRH's complete scores, visit www.healthgrades.com.

Kentucky Outstanding Patient Experience Award recipients

Hospital                                              Location

Taylor Regional Hospital                       Campbellsville

Baptist Health Lexington                       Lexington

Baptist Health Louisville                        Louisville

Baptist Health Paducah                         Paducah

Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital             Ashland

Pikeville Medical Center                        Pikeville

Saint Joseph - Berea                            Berea

Saint Joseph London                            London

TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital      Bowling Green

Westlake Regional Hospital                   Columbia