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Huguley Emergency Department Physicians Improve Patient Experience

In the third quarter of 2010, Huguley Memorial Medical Center reported its best physician satisfaction scores for emergency department patients, approaching the top quarter of hospitals nationwide. 

Dr. Dennis Haslam, medical director of Huguley Emergency Physicians, said, “When we began measuring physician satisfaction with Press Ganey in 2009, our scores were much lower than we anticipated.  But what can be measured can be improved.  We were determined that our patient’s experience of care would match the quality of care that we provide.  We introduced a series of improvements based on the best practices of hospitals around the country.  The trend is very positive.”

Since the initial scores were reported in 2009, Huguley emergency department physician satisfaction has skyrocketed.  By the third quarter of this year, Huguley's ranking among similar-sized emergency departments across the country had increased tenfold.

“We began with teaching our physicians about measures to improve patient satisfaction, and we post and update our scores frequently to maintain our focus.  We now spend more time getting a patient’s initial history and we update the patients more frequently,” Dr. Haslam explained.

The 37-question Press Ganey survey, which is distributed to emergency department patients after discharge, measures physician courtesy, the degree to which the doctor took the time to listen, the doctor’s concern to keep the patient informed, and the doctor’s concern for comfort, among other topics.  Press Ganey partners with more than 10,000 health care organizations – including 50% of all U.S. hospitals – to measure and improve their quality of care.

In addition to the improvement in physician satisfaction scores, other measures of care in the Huguley Emergency Department are improving.  Treatment time has been reduced by having a physician in triage during busy times, by taking patients immediately to an exam room if available, and by having a lab on-site, dedicated to emergency department patients.

For eight months straight, the Huguley Emergency Department has ensured that 100% of their heart attack patients surpassed the national goal of having blood flow re-established within or faster than 90 minutes.  In 2009, Huguley Memorial Medical Center met that goal in 94% of cases, compared to a Texas average of 81%, according to Medicare data.

“We are fortunate that our group of physicians are stable and vested in Huguley.  As a team, they care about providing the best possible patient experience in our emergency department,” said Mary Lewis, RN, Huguley Emergency Department care manager.