Flu season can bring misery to many – and the idea of an inpouring of patients filling crowded waiting rooms can be frightening to those who are sick needing emergency treatment.
Typically during the flu season’s spike in cases, facilities see patient survey scores decline as their volume of patients skyrockets.
Defying those assumptions, Iredell Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department saw its patient scores increase during the 2019 flu season, so much that the department won the hospital’s Values Pacesetter Award for March, given to the department with the highest patient experience scores from the previous month.
“We are fortunate to have exceptional team members who enjoy caring for others,” said Rhonda Ruppe, the emergency department’s director. “Our practice doesn’t change with a high volume of patients. We provide the same consistent care every day, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to care for our community.”
The Emergency Department achieves emergency care upon arrival during times of high volume by focusing on throughput and respect for patients. The triage nurse promptly orders labs and diagnostics, and clinical coordinators work alongside providers and staff to expedite patient care and ensure that treatments are started immediately.
“By raising its scores during flu season, the Emergency Department showed that during times of high volume, it can step up and continue to provide the high quality care that Iredell Memorial is known for,” said Jed Pidcock, Iredell Health System’s director of patient experience.
The Values Pacesetter award winner is chosen by averaging performance scores in six key domains on the hospital’s Emergency Department surveys and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, a patient satisfaction survey essential to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The domains focus on communication and environment of care.
“The award demonstrates the Emergency Department’s environment that is conducive to healing and continual communication with patients throughout their stay to assist them in understanding their care both here and once they leave,” Pidcock said.
In recognition of its award, the Emergency Department received a framed certificate to keep, and two large banners to display in its department during April recognizing the unit’s designation to patients, visitors, and staff.
The hospital’s 5 North Nursing Unit had previously won the award two months in a row.