Improving Patient Satisfaction in the Emergency Department (ED) Through Post-Visit Contact
Contacting patients the day after an ED visit has helped the hospital consistently achieve 95 – 99 percent Press Ganey satisfaction scores, reduce the risk of negative outcomes following discharge, and collect timely and statistically significant patient data.
Edward Hospital & Health Services
801 S. Washington Street
Naperville, IL 60540
Edward Hospital & Health Services is a 309-bed acute-care hospital located in Naperville, Ill. that operates two EDs with 90,000 annual encounters collectively.
Tom Scaletta, MD
ED Medical Director
The Edward Hospital ED found that traditional patient satisfaction measurement through Press Ganey scores was good for benchmarking the whole ED but did not provide timely, statistically significant data at the provider level.
The ED staff wanted to continue to improve patient satisfaction by following up with patients and obtaining provider-specific feedback. In order to conduct individual patient follow-ups, the hospital created a Call Back Clerk position in 2004. Using automatic phone dialing software, the Call Back Clerk contacted each patient discharged from the ED to inquire about the status of their medical conditions and satisfaction with providers. Patients contacted are asked if their condition has changed and are directed to additional medical care as needed. Patients were also asked to rate the physicians and nurses who treated them. If the score was low, the patient was asked why. This information was compiled, analyzed for trends and utilized for quality improvement.
After creating the clerk position, Edward Hospital enhanced the innovation in 2012 using Smart-ER™ (http://smart-er.net), a tool that automates the process by sending self-assessments electronically (by email or text message) and optimizes the workflow of the clerk. Patients are sent a simple five question survey, which they are answer via computer, tablet, or smart phone with follow-up comments. This enhancement resulted in more people answering the survey. Whether the patient is reached electronically or by callback clerk, built in triggers automatically notify department leaders of any issue. Using the electronic systems cuts costs in half (approximately $1.00 per patient to operate in comparison $2.00 per patient without using the tool) and gives the call back clerk more time to assist patient needs. Alternatively, twice as many patients can be reached for the same cost, which saves on callback staffing.