Inspiring Change: Boosting patient satisfaction scores—and nurses' morale
Sylvia M. Belizario MEd, BSN, RN, CNRN

August 2011 
Volume 41  Number 8
Pages 18 - 20
  PDF Version Available!

WITH PATIENT-CENTERED CARE, patients are active participants in their care, receiving services focused on individual needs and preferences.1 Patient-centered care was already a value of the neuroscience telemetry and stroke unit at Georgetown University Hospital (GUH), a teaching hospital in Washington, D.C. But based on patient satisfaction survey results, nurses on the unit, including the manager, director, and educator, recognized that we needed to improve the delivery of patient-centered care and measure outcomes with a unit-based patient satisfaction survey apart from surveys being done by an outside expert.From September 2007 to August 2008, the patient satisfaction scores of our unit gradually increased from the 10th percentile to over the 95th percentile, as tracked by an outside expert. During the same period, the scores from the unit-based patient satisfaction survey also increased from a mean score of 63.5% to 87.3%. This article describes how our staff used the performance improvement process to identify and investigate problems, implement interventions, and evaluate for improvement to raise the unit's patient satisfaction scores.Patient satisfaction measurements have been used to obtain information to improve the quality of services provided, meet accreditation standards and regulatory requirements, and gain a competitive edge in the healthcare market. Some healthcare providers develop their own patient satisfaction surveys while others use outside experts. When this project began, GUH used an outside expert.In July 2007, the unit received its patient satisfaction report card from the outside expert, which showed that its score was around the 10th percentile, meaning that 90% of the other units scored better than ours. Of the 24 units in the hospital, our unit scored second from the lowest.At first, the staff perceived that improving these unsatisfactory patient satisfaction scores was an insurmountable task-a "Mission Impossible." It took several meetings

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