Farmington Hills, Mich., June 20, 2007 – Giving excellent service to customers has been the motto at Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., since the 42-year old institution adopted rigorous customer service goals a couple of years ago. To support Botsford’s push to be known as the premium place for health care delivery, the hospital’s Service Excellence Council developed a recognition program to honor entire departments with staff members who have demonstrated a strong commitment to excellent service. Botsford’s busy Emergency Center has won the inaugural Rick Perhogan Service Excellence Trophy this spring. This trophy is named for an exemplary employee who passed away last year.
“Most people would be about as happy to go to an emergency room as they would be about having root canal. Necessary, but painful,” comments David Walters, D.O., Botsford’s department chair of emergency medicine. “We emphasize giving excellent service to our customers as an offset to people’s natural inclination about going to an ER. When customers look back at their experience in our ER, we hope they’ll remember that we far exceeded their expectations. When they or their family members need emergency care in the future, they’ll be more apt to choose Botsford.”
Walters says that satisfied patients come away from their trip to Botsford’s ER feeling that not only has the staff taken care of their health problems, but also that the staff has truly cared about them as individuals. Having one of the busiest emergency rooms in Oakland County---about 60,000 patients annually---makes this goal all the more difficult to attain.
“I’m just so proud of Botsford’s ER staff,” said Walters. “For two years, all of us have worked to improve our customers’ experience. Front-line ER folks fully deserve this recognition.”
Giving customers an enhanced experience while they are receiving emergency medical treatment requires constant attention. Botsford’s ER management reinforces the hospital’s high goals for customer service by frequently making rounds during all three shifts---days, afternoons and midnights---throughout the 38-bed ER. During rounds, management listens to employees’ immediate concerns about whatever roadblocks may be preventing perfect service during that shift. Then, they go to work restoring employees’ ability to give excellent service to patients.
It’s this careful attention to customers’ opinions that prompted the hospital to do something to give patients and their loved ones more privacy in the ER’s waiting room and in the triage area. Botsford has built a larger ER waiting room that is opening this month. And, Botsford is starting to build a larger and more private patient triage area, which will give the added benefit of moving patients to seeing an ER doctor more quickly. Walters adds, “It’s all about caring what our patients need and delivering excellent care.”
ER staffers regularly brainstorm solutions to customer service issues with members from other Botsford departments that have a hand in the patient’s ER experience. Security, Environmental Services, Patient Registration, Radiology, Patient Transport and other departments work together with the ER to generate ideas and action on service improvements.
For example, when an ER staffer hands the patient off to a technician in Radiology for a needed x-ray or a CT scan, that tech treats the patient with a high level of courtesy and works swiftly so that this patient is minimally inconvenienced as well as the patients who follow. Whatever happens during the patient’s ER visit ultimately will be reflected in the patient’s opinion of Botsford and in the patient’s future hospital choice.
The hospital designed the Rick Perhogan Service Excellence Trophy so that the winning department each quarter could name other departments that have played an integral role in helping them to achieve their high customer satisfaction goals. It’s no surprise then that Botsford’s ER selected the Radiology Department to receive a Service Excellence Assist Award for the reasons mentioned earlier. They also chose to award the Patient Transport Department for interfacing well with ER staff when admitted patients from the ER need transport to their assigned hospital rooms.
Botsford Hospital, an independent, acute care, 330-bed community hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich., was founded in 1965. Nationally recognized for quality, safety and medical education programs, Botsford has received the 2005 Solucient 100 Top Hospitals: Performance Improvement Leaders award and the 2005 Governor’s Award of Excellence for Improving Care in the Hospital Setting (for treatment of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia) and in the Emergency Department Setting (for treatment of heart attack and pneumonia). Botsford’s Web address is www.botsford.org.
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