The Impact of a Philosophy of Quality
Customer Service with an Engaged Workforce Equals a Great Hospital
On extremely rare occasions, positive forces converge upon the same location at a critical point in time. In the business world, it is these desired occurrences that have a tremendous impact on any facility. These actions result in attainment of levels of success not before realized or imagined. Whether planned or accidental, they propel organizations to enviable heights when compared with others in their particular industry.
Medical Center of Plano (MCP) was established in 1975 as a 50-bed general hospital. As the community grew, so did the hospital. By 2002, it had expanded to become a 427-bed multi-specialty facility with 1,300 employees and 1,000 physicians on staff.
The city of Plano had grown from 2,000 people to a robust 250,000. It was not uncommon for the city to be mentioned in magazines as the best place in the US to raise your family. In 2002, the median age was 34 years and the average household income was slightly more than $85,000. The expectations of the citizens demanded (and still do) that MCP provide a level of service and care that was above those provided by hospitals in surrounding cities.
MCP’s success had mirrored the success of the community simply because it was the only local community hospital. Unfortunately, as competition grew and people started having choices, complacency began to gain a foothold at MCP. The culture of the organization was to focus on past accomplishments, causing tremendous resistance to any meaningful change.
In late 2000, senior management determined that this hospital needed to commit to a philosophy of providing quality customer service as its primary business focus. It was imperative that this new direction was not just a superficial nod to "lip service". In fact, it was essential that we reinforce the community’s perception that the quality of services provided at MCP couldn’t be equaled by our competitors.
If it was as simple as saying, "we hereby commit to a philosophy of quality customer service," and everything just magically happened, then everyone would be doing it. The senior management of the hospital recognized the need for a change in culture that required much more than simply another customer service program. After evaluating what was occurring in this market, senior management resolved this was, indeed, the only way to continue to be recognized as a highly successful hospital and the provider of choice.
Beginning in May of 2003, MCP no longer hired anyone just to fill the position. Our goal became "to hire the most talented person possible for all of our open positions." Since we implemented this philosophy and associated tools, our interview process has consistently resulted in 45% of our applicants being recommended for further consideration in the hiring process. In addition to talent, we also recognized there must be a fit to ensure we have the "right manager" overseeing the "right person" in the "right job" at the "right time" doing the "right thing." Our staffing process normally results in our hiring approximately 30% of the recommended applicants. Talent does not guarantee success, but it is a consistently good predictor of success when coupled with a high level of employee engagement. Employee engagement training for leaders, employee feedback and new accountability systems all contributed to MCP’s success of attaining a high level of engaged employees.
In late 2004, our commitment to the Seven Standards of Star Service and our ongoing Journey to Excellence needed to be energized. The leadership team determined that the innovative ideas of Quint Studer and The Studer Group provided the resources MCP needed, Must HavesSM
To better communicate with the employees, the hospital formed service excellence teams comprised of employees from all levels of the organization. "Through these teams, we can learn what we can do better for our employees, how we can meaningfully reward and recognize them for their hard work and how employees can make things better for doctors and patients," said CEO Harvey Fishero. "Our most valuable asset is our engaged employees," said Fishero.
Our partnership with Studer Group has provided us with a "roadmap" that we have followed to success. The foundation was put into place in 2001. Not only was it centered on providing market-competitive human resources programs, but it was also driven by the commitment of senior hospital leadership to the highest level of customer service, known internally as "Star Service." Not only does hospital leadership embrace these strategies (service and engagement), it is totally aware of how they have stimulated the positive culture changes. Engaged employees work with a passion not found in disengaged employees and over the course of the past four years employee engagement at MCP has risen from 19% to more than 70%.
Successes Attributed to Our Commitment to Service and Engaged Employes
- Designated Texas Nurse Friendly™ Hospital, 1 of 17 in the state, May 2006
- 2006 #1 HCA Hospital in Employee Engagement
- 2005 #1 HCA Hospital in Employee Satisfaction with Grand Mean of 4.41
- 2005 #1 HCA Hospital in Employee Engagement with Ratio of 17.75:1 (71% Engaged)
- 2003 through 2006 identified as one of the top five large companies in Dallas Business Journal’s, "Best Places to Work" Survey
- 2004/2005 Above the 95th Percentile for Employee Engagement in the Gallup Healthcare Database
- Turnover reduced to 21% in 2005 from 39% in 2000 and a vacancy rate of 7.2 in 2005
- 1st Quartile in Patient Satisfaction 2005 and 1st Q 2006
- Preliminary Q2 Inpatient Score – 3.61
- 1st Quartile HCA CNO Report 2004 and 2005 (98th Percentile for HCA)
- 1st Quartile Emergency Department Satisfaction 2005
- 1st Quartile 2005 OR Evaluation Report
If your goal is to only meet expectations, you cannot succeed in a competitive healthcare market such as North Texas. The bar will never become lower as patients become more knowledgeable regarding healthcare and the providers of healthcare. Our most reliable marketing comes from our "very satisfied" patients and family members after their stay in our hospital. Almost daily we receive letters and notes from patients and guests wanting us to know that the environment at MCP is different from any hospital they have ever been to. One such communication stands out. A CEO of a competitor hospital chain spoke with our CEO regarding his mother’s stay in our hospital. He basically said the care his mother received at MCP was provided by employees totally committed to ensuring she was "very satisfied" in every respect. He also stated he had never seen that level of commitment, meeting the patient’s every need, in any hospital.
Three things come to mind when trying to understand why we have attained our level of success:
- Putting the patient first in everything we do;
- Committing to a business model centered around quality patient service (Star Service and Studer Must Haves);
- Recognizing the value of "employee engagement" as opposed to "employee satisfaction".
Our Mission: Medical Center of Plano is a healthcare organization founded on the values of excellence, leadership, integrity and compassion. We exist to provide the highest quality services for the individuals and families we serve.