For more than a decade, Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore has subscribed to the Studer Group's principles for achieving and maintaining operational and service excellence. Our vigilant focus on Quality, Service and Safety has helped us engage our family of Good Samaritans in our ongoing—and worthwhile!—efforts to create "ideal experiences" across the board. This includes creating a great place for associates to work, physicians to practice and patients to receive care.
Our journey toward service and operational excellence began in 2000, as our senior leadership team and board were working to create our strategic plan. Already, we had begun referring to ourselves internally as "Good Samaritans," in recognition of our tradition of caring and service. But this name—and our "Good story" [or the history of our founding]—took on an even greater significance as we leveraged it to remind ourselves, our patients and our community of our wholehearted commitment to service. Our "Good name"—Good Samaritan—became the foundation for our service and operational excellence program, starting with our mission: "We are Good Samaritans, guided by Catholic tradition, and trusted to deliver ideal healthcare experiences." This mission was adopted because it instills in each and every associate a sense of pride and ownership. Each Good Samaritan is empowered and expected to "own" each patient's care and safety.
Worthwhile work in progress
Good Samaritan established its "Ideal Experience [Fire Starter] Teams" in 2001, sparking the implementation of best-practice initiatives to increase patient satisfaction and organizational pride: patient and support services surveys, white boards, key words at key times, scripting, call-backs, rounding on patients and associates, daily huddles, thank-you notes and more. We also implemented our five "Puzzle Pieces" [or grounding "pillars"]: Service, Quality, People, Growth and Finance. Still today, these Puzzle Pieces are used to provide a common framework as we communicate "Good to Know" information with all associates related to service and operational excellence. Our Puzzle Pieces also serve as a reminder to all Good Samaritans about our organizational priorities: When making a decision on behalf of our hospital, our leaders and our board members consider it accordingly, in terms of how it will impact, respectively, our service to our patients, our quality of care, our team of Good Samaritans, our potential for growth and our financial health. Each quarter, we host all-associate forums that outline and explain our key initiatives and progress by Puzzle Piece. In addition, we structure our leadership meetings and bi-annual Leadership Development Institute [or LDI] courses by Puzzle Piece, proudly displaying our Good Samaritan Flywheel accordingly and actively encourage leaders to cascade this "Puzzle Piece" format to staff meetings. In addition, we created a set of common "Behavior Standards" [Our ROCCET Behaviors: Recognition, Ownership, Communication, Courtesy, Enthusiasm and Teamwork] that are considered as we hire and annually evaluate all Good Samaritans.
A Good, formal education
Over the past decade, Good Samaritan has focused on making each and every staff member accountable for the care and service we provide. The best way to reinforce this commitment is to clarify expectations. Good Samaritan University, "founded" over a year ago, is a two-day on-boarding [new employee orientation] program that outlines the duties and expectations of each Good Samaritan. Curriculum includes information about Studer Service and Operational Excellence programs and tools, ROCCET Behavior Expectations and more. Courses include… Each "class" is welcomed by hospital President Jeff Matton and is feted at a graduation ceremony at the end of day two, where they officially receive their diplomas and are met by a member of their new team to be escorted to their new department for additional department-specific training. All leaders have been sent to Good Sam U to experience the course firsthand, and an abridged course was presented at a recent all-associate You First forum. An abbreviated online module is being developed for all associates as part of our required annual competencies.
In addition, we have instituted a "Leadership Academy" which involves similar on-boarding for leaders. All new leaders are automatically enrolled, and leaders needing refresher courses are able to audit courses. Ongoing academy training keeps our associate and leader expectations—and behaviors—aligned.
Restoring our commitment
In 2010, our senior leaders reconvened with the purpose of reigniting our Ideal Experience initiative. Though our foundation was solid—our ongoing commitment to understanding our purpose, our worthwhile work and our mission to create ideal healthcare experiences—we were lacking momentum, having initiated most Studer tools and programs. We were "off the grid" and challenged to re-engage our core group of Fire Starters as we initiated newer, energetic team members. In addition, we wanted to more completely personalize our program, to emphasize our mission to be Good Samaritans.
With the national focus in healthcare shifting from "patient satisfaction" to "patient experience," we understood the import more than ever of providing excellent service and safe, quality care, so we refined our "Ideal Health Experience" to include Safety. The result? The Good Samaritan Experience [GSE], which encompasses, according to President Jeff Matton, "exceptional, quality care, matched with vigilant regard for patient safety, wrapped in excellent service." A new GSE icon was created, as a visual reminder of our ongoing efforts and commitment, and we reformed our Fire Starter Teams into Good Samaritan Experience Teams, to include:
Patient Experience Team
Physician Experience Team
Employee Activities/Engagement Team
Reward and Recognition Team
Leadership Development Team
Good Sam University Team
First Impressions Team
Culture of Safety Team
These teams convene regularly and post their projects/updates to our dedicated intranet site. Every other month, team leaders meet to discuss opportunities for synergy and to review team initiatives as they relate to Safety, Quality and Service. Springing from this Good Samaritan Experience model is our active creation of a Culture of Safety that empowers all Good Samaritans to speak up for patient safety, the foundation of a Good Samaritan Experience and ideal care and outcomes.
Good HCAHPS Results
Over the last three years, Good Samaritan Hospital has shown a steady increase in the HCAHPS composites Overall Rating of Care and Likelihood to Recommend. During the latest reporting period [2Q09-1Q10], Good Samaritan Hospital also outperformed the state and national average in both composites. Our commitments to providing ALWAYS care and service to our patients is apparent, underscoring our mission to deliver ideal Good Samaritan Experiences.
Accountability and purpose drive results
Over the past several years, Good Samaritan Hospital has seen unprecedented accomplishments related to service and clinical excellence. These awards, which span our Puzzle Pieces, include:
Studer Group's Healthcare Organization of the Month, April 2011 [Service]
The Quality Excellence Award from the Delmarva Foundation [Quality]
Watson Wyatt's World-Class Employee Satisfaction Index [People]
U.S.News & World Report Top 50 Hospital for several key service lines [Growth]
Nationally Ranked as one of America's 50 Best Hospitals by a leading health care website [Quality]
Practice GreenHealth Award Winner [Finance]
Says President Jeff Matton, "We're proud of our accomplishments. The public recognition is rewarding, certainly, but most importantly, these awards are a testament to our investment in the Good Samaritan Experience, and a symbol of all the Good things we can accomplish when we move together with a single, greater purpose."
Our continued efforts to hardwire the Good Samaritan Experience—by using the prescribed tools and Studer model as our foundation—have helped support the growth of several key service lines, most notably our primary care and rehabilitation programs. These programs have seen improved patient satisfaction results and steady growth, enabling Good Samaritan to attract high-profile, engaged providers. "Much like the Health Care Flywheel, it's a self-sustaining process," says Jeff. "Our passion for providing safe, quality care and excellent service motivates us to accomplish great things…and when we achieve stellar results and earn awards, we're spurred to do more. It's a Good thing."