Shelby Baptist gets high satisfaction scores

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 5, 2003

A high percentage of people who visit the emergency room at Baptist Shelby Medical Center are leaving the Alabaster hospital satisfied with their experience, according to the latest survey by one national firm.

&uot;We are getting busier,&uot; said hospital spokesman Marty Murphy. &uot;But the busier we’re getting, the higher our patient satisfaction levels are going up.&uot;

Baptist Shelby received several high scores in the survey by Press Ganey Associates, an Indiana-based firm that measures patient satisfaction levels for healthcare providers.

The hospital’s emergency department ranked in the top one percent in the nation in its group of 288 like-sized hospitals. The quarterly survey represented the period from March 1 through May 31.

With more than 40,000 patients a year, Baptist Shelby’s ER is one of the busiest in the Birmingham Metro area, second only to UAB.

Shelby County’s population boom has left hospital officials searching for ways to streamline services and keep up with the growth.

&uot;Specifically, our main goal was to find a way to decrease wait times and lengths of stay,&uot; said Towana Pardue, emergency services director. &uot;By doing so, we have put a program in place that allows us to provide improved services to more patients.&uot;

The Press Ganey survey measures patient satisfaction in categories for registration, nursing care, physician care, tests and treatments, service to family and friends and discharge.

Surveys are mailed to patients after their release.

Baptist Shelby ranked in the 99th percentile in overall rating, arrival, nurses, personal/insurance and personal issues. The hospital ranked in the 97th percentile in the family/friends category and 98th percentile in the overall assessment.

Baptist Shelby ranked in the 94th percentile for overall patient satisfaction in Press Ganey’s national database of 896 emergency departments across the nation.

Officials said the scores are a slight improvement over last quarter’s and a dramatic increase since the hospital first began participating in the survey.

One reason for the increase, officials said, is a new bedside registration policy that allows patients to see a doctor first and fill out paperwork later.

&uot;Before, it was like ‘try not to bleed on the registration sheet’,&uot; Murphy said.

But now patients don’t have to stop to give information to a registration clerk before seeing a doctor.

&uot;Instead they give information regarding their ailments,&uot; Pardue said. &uot;We hear their problems and assign the appropriate staff. The goal is to get patients to the doctors quicker so the doctors can determine the best treatment options.&uot;

Murphy said the hospital’s commitment to improvement and participation in the Press Ganey survey are critical to the hospital’s mission.

&uot;It’s the right thing to do from a moral and ethical standpoint. We want to provide the best care possible.&uot;

Murphy said it is just another way to maintain and improve Baptist Shelby’s customer service.

&uot;We have definitely improved, but will only get better as time goes by,&uot; Pardue said. &uot;The more cases we handle, the more chances we’ll have to make adjustments to these new processes.&uot;