Case study- the issue of assessing quality health care

 

Quality health care is a goal all hospitals profess, but Arnold Palmer Hospital has actually developed comprehensive and scientific means of asking customers to judge the quality of care they receive. Participating in a national benchmark comparison against other hospitals, Arnold Palmer Hospital consistently scores in the top 10% in overall patient satisfaction. Executive Director Kathy Swanson states, “Hospitals in this area will be distinguished largely on the basis of their customer satisfaction. We must have accurate information about how our patients and their families judge the quality of our care, so I follow the questionnaire results daily. The in-depth survey helps me and others on my team to gain quick knowledge from patient feedback.” Arnold Palmer Hospital employees are empowered to provide gifts in value up to $200 to patients who find reason to complain about any hospital service such as food, courtesy, responsiveness, or cleanliness.

Swanson doesn’t focus just on the customer surveys, which are mailed to patients one week after discharge, but also on a variety of internal measures. These measures usually start at the grass- roots level, where the staff sees a problem and develops ways to track performance. The hospital’s longstanding philosophy sup- ports the concept that each patient is important and respected as a person. That patient has the right to comprehensive, compassionate family-centered health care provided by a knowledgeable physician-directed team.

Some of the measures Swanson carefully monitors for continuous improvement are morbidity, infection rates, readmission rates, costs per case, and length of stays. The tools she uses daily include Pareto charts, flowcharts, and process charts, in addition to benchmarking against hospitals both nationally and in the southeast region.

The result of all of these efforts has been a quality culture as manifested in Arnold Palmer’s high ranking in patient satisfaction and one of the highest survival rates of critically ill babies.

Discussion Questions

1. Why is it important for Arnold Palmer Hospital to get a patient’s assessment of health care quality? Does the patient have the expertise to judge the health care she receives?

2. How would you build a culture of quality in an organization such as Arnold Palmer Hospital?

3. What techniques does Arnold Palmer Hospital practice in its drive for quality and continuous improvement?

4. Develop a Cause-and-Effect (CE) diagram illustrating the quality variables for a patient who just gave birth at Arnold Palmer Hospital (or any other hospital)

Your submission should be in APA format.  Supporting evidence is important.  At least 2-4 pages is the page requirement.

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