Background and Objective:
The purpose of this quality management study was to demonstrate how one hospital made a journey from average patient experience to become a regional leader in the experience of patient care for nationally recognized quality and safety metrics.
Saint Francis Hospital & Medical Center (SFHMC) located in Hartford, Connecticut, serves a diverse sociodemographic community as part of Trinity Health. “Recommend the Hospital” (RTH) has been the main marker of patient experience at SFHMC and Trinity Health across the United States as part of the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). From 2010 to 2019, SFHMC implemented unit-based rounding hospital-wide, adopting charge nurse and executive leadership rounding as standard work. The intense support from senior leadership spurred the implementation of these changes across middle management and all frontline workers. The t test was used to determine differences between the mean RTH scores between SFHMC, Connecticut, and the United States.
Patient experience at SFHMC was regularly assessed by Press Ganey surveys and HCAHPS, which demonstrated higher scores than averages for the state of Connecticut and the United States between 2010 and 2019 (both Ps < .001). SFHMC was the top performer with an RTH score of 83%, with the state average being 71% and the national average being 72%. In the years following the implementation of a multipronged low-cost strategy, hospital RTH scores rose linearly from the state and national average. SFHMC observed gains in patient safety and quality scores as measured by national benchmarks, including Leapfrog patient safety scores of 7 A's and 1 B over a 4-year period. SFHMC was the only hospital in Connecticut to receive an A grade 4 years in a row.
A combination of nurse-led, unit-based rounding and executive team rounding with a consistent focus on patient experience resulted in significant improvement in RTH scores for a busy teaching urban hospital, with only a modest investment of resources. There was also improvement in quality and safety outcomes, which together with patient experience of care drove fiscal stability in an increasingly value-based health care environment.