Stop Guessing About Your Patient Satisfaction Scores

Vicki Maisonneuve, Director of the Nursing Center for Excellence and Magnet Program at Parkview Health

At Parkview Health, we're always looking for better ways to do things. Our hospital was established in 1878, so we've learned a thing or two over the past 141 years about caring for the patients we serve. Parkview was chosen as one of the top 15 health systems in the country and is among just 7% of hospitals in the country to earn Magnet recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

I've spent the past 37 years championing patient education initiatives at Parkview, and I've learned that consistent, high-quality resources are key to ensuring staff utilization and reaching patients in meaningful ways.

If you regularly hear the following questions from your staff, it may be time to go through your resource library with a fine-tooth comb:

  • "Do we have educational material on this topic?"
  • "Where can I find the resources I need?"
  • "We have conflicting versions of this material. Which one should I give out?"
  • "Why is this design so different from the rest of our content?"
  • "Are we sure this material is up-to-date?"

It didn't happen overnight, but Parkview Health launched a project to standardize all our patient education content. Then we set out to prove that providing quality content could improve communication and patient experience at our hospitals.

Cleaning Up the Content

We started by establishing a governance process and an advisory committee to oversee the project. Next, we did some much-needed housekeeping by eliminating out-of-date materials.

Want to hear something truly scary? We found one piece of literature that hadn't been updated since 1978!

We needed to make sure our patient education was consistent across the board, with no contradictory information or off-brand design. Healthwise was a huge help here. Healthwise also made sure our material was evidence-based, culturally sensitive, and written in plain language.

We finally had the high-quality patient education we needed. But how could we measure its effects on patient outcomes?

Connecting the Dots

Last year, Parkview Noble rolled out a bedside education initiative, which gave patients tablets in their rooms with access to knowledgebase topics, decision aids, and Healthwise videos related to their condition. We immediately began to see upward trends in HCAHPS scores, but this didn't prove anything. Those patient satisfaction scores could have been due to any number of variables. We needed to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that the bedside tablets and the educational material they held improved patient experience. We also wanted to measure whether providing quality patient education improved communication between physicians and patients. If we couldn't do that, we couldn't justify the expense of expanding the initiative.

We already had the data—we just needed to understand it. We had already been working with Healthwise to visualize our patient-education data through charts and graphs, and this allowed us to connect the dots between our clinical initiatives and the impact of patient education on outcomes.

Of course, there was much more to it than I can talk about in a short blog post. Healthwise's Marta Sylvia and I hosted a webinar that went into much more detail about the Parkview Noble initiative and how you can use your data to connect patient education to outcomes at your hospital.