If you’ve visited the Emergency Department (ED) at Penobscot Valley Hospital recently, you’ve probably noticed some familiar faces. The hospital has successfully recruited physicians Steven J. Fisher, MD and Michael J. Lescord, MD to work with physicians David Dumont, MD, David L. Ettinger, MD, John Shannon, DO, and Paul E. Turnquist, MD. And patients couldn’t be happier!
This brings the PVH ED up to full staff with local providers. Dr. Fisher had previously worked fulltime in Vermont and prior to that had been on the staff for many years at Mid-Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Maine. Dr. Lescord comes to PVH after working in the Emergency Department at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for almost 20 years.
Patient survey scores are showing extremely high satisfaction levels with the care they receive during their time in the Emergency Department at PVH. In the fourth quarter of 2013 and so far through the first quarter of 2014, patients completing the satisfaction survey have given PVH top ranks in every question of the survey, which is a tremendous feat considering there are 34 questions. This ranking puts the PVH ED above both the state and national averages in all categories!
“The stability of our healthcare team, both providers and nurses, reflects in our scores,” states PVH Director of Nursing Clinical Practice Lisa O’Connor, RN. “Covering more shifts with in-house doctors and nurses assures the staff know our processes extremely well and can focus on providing top-notch patient care.”
Patients who are admitted to PVH for overnight care are randomly selected by a third party to receive an HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers Survey) questionnaire requesting information about their recent inpatient visit. This organization tallies responses and publishes data nationally at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov, although there is a time delay in the site’s reported data. Responses received by these surveys help all healthcare facilities improve care, access, communication, coordination, and safety. At PVH, survey responses are highly regarded and help bring about new projects based on patient suggestions.
For example, the Emergency Department nursing staff implemented the follow-up phone call process to improve communications, discharge and patient outcomes after they leave the hospital. ED staff review the patient chart prior to the call, taking a close look at the discharge instructions. During the call, staff ask patients if they are feeling better, offer some easy remedies like elevating an extremity, ice, heat, or stretches. If a follow-up appointment with their primary care provider was recommended, ED staff ask if the appointment has been made and if it has not, urge them to do so. If prescriptions were written, staff ask if they were able to fill their prescriptions. Staff then ask if they have any questions about their care while they were here or any questions in general. The majority of patients like the follow-up calls and appreciate the staff’s concern even after they’ve left the ED.
The ED’s highest ranks were in patient safety on medications. Before giving any new medication, staff discuss possible allergies, other medications currently being taken, and what the new medication is for. Staff always ensure the 5 R’s before administering medication – the Right Drug, Right Dose, Right Route, Right Patient, and Right Time. PVH ED staff also ranked high in emotional support, respect, education, involvement of family and friends, and physical comfort.
"We are very fortunate to have such a strong team of nurses and physicians," remarks Dr. Dumont, Chief of Emergency Medicine and the hospital's Chief Medical Officer. "All of our ED physicians have a wealth of emergency medicine experience. Our staff also has a tremendous knowledge of being able to care for patients in a rural location, where there is often a limited amount of specialty medical care. We are seeing this improvement in patient satisfaction and outcomes because of the stability of our healthcare team and because of their strong skills."