Why do you think your patients gave you a five-star rating?
BLANK: Our patients tell us that our staff, from the time you walk into our building throughout the care process, do a wonderful job of focusing on what they need. Our patients have been generous in recognizing that. It’s really part of the culture here. Obviously, we work hard to reinforce that culture, but we are fortunate to be in a fairly special environment where excellence is the standard. We’ve got a committed group of people who are patient-focused. We participate actively in promoting the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality’s TeamSTEPPS (Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) performance program, and we’re in our 14th year of being one of Avatar Solution’s overall [patient satisfaction] best performers.
Is treating the patients as consumers something you’ve focused on?
BLANK: We just focus on providing good care and listening to our patients and community. We’re an island hospital. There is a bridge, so we’re not totally isolated. But we’re a rural community hospital that really looks at itself as being responsible for providing what our community needs. Talk to any of our staff — that’s where their focus is. That’s ultimately what drives the consumer feedback we receive. I find it hard to acknowledge some of those distinctions between consumer and patient.
How is patient experience integrated into clinical care by the staff at Mount Desert Island Hospital?
BLANK: If you look at the different elements of patient experience, they are all aspects of providing a holistic approach to meeting patients’ needs. We have expectations that our clinical staff will communicate well with our patients. Part of the way we help to reinforce that is through the TeamSTEPPS program — working on reinforcing and providing the skill enhancements that are needed to do that effectively. As we look at any of our processes, we don’t have a formal Lean program, but we focus on what pieces of our processes are most important to adding value to our patients’ experience. Those are the parts we try to emphasize and the things that don’t add value to our patients we de-emphasize as we do process improvement. A lot of this isn’t rocket science; it’s just focusing on our patients’ needs. I can’t overstate that it’s really about the culture within the organization. That’s what our team members expect to do every day when they come into the building.