16 hospitals with great customer service

Becker's Hospital Review called for nominations and researched hospitals dedicated to providing excellent customer service and quality patient care.

To add a hospital to this list, please contact Mackenzie Bean at mbean@beckershealthcare.com.

Here are 16 hospitals with terrific customer service:

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Cancer Treatment Centers of America, whichoperates five hospitals in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Georgia, Illinois and Arizona, places patient and family care as a top priority. Each location staffs cancer experts who deliver personalized, whole-person care and every staff member embodies the Mother Standard of Care, which encourages staff to treat patients with same level of care they'd want for their own loved ones. The CTCA's integrative treatment model combines traditional treatment methods like surgery, immunotherapy and chemotherapy with evidence-based supportive therapies to provide relief for cancer-related side effects.

 Urbana, Ill.-based Carle Foundation Hospital, a 393-bed facility, launched a system-wide cultural transformation in 2012 called the "Carle Experience." The initiative hardwired all hospital actions with best practices in customer service, employee engagement and quality performance. The hospital also implemented an electronic education platform to provide patients with information about expectations during their hospital stay, including diagnoses, treatments, medications and the ability to request immediate assistance with food, room temperature and other comfort-related issues. Carle earned a 2016 Outstanding Patient Experience Award representing the top 10 percent of hospitals in the nation for patient experience from Healthgrades.

Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center in Ohio, sees 5.1 million patients a year and houses more than 3,000 physicians and scientists. The health system offers same-day appointments for all patients — no "ifs" or "buts" about it. Anyone who phones Cleveland Clinic will be greeted with a question of whether or not they would like to be seen that day, or if after 4 p.m., the next day. The facility accommodates around a million same-day appointments a year.

Geisinger Health System is a 12-hospital system based in Danville, Pa., that employs 1,600 physicians and serves more than 3 million residents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In October 2015, Geisinger's president and CEO David Feinberg, MD, launched the ProvenExperience program. The initiative allows patients to request refunds if they are not satisfied with their hospital experience for select procedures, including spine surgery and bariatric surgery. Geisinger will pay the refund request within three to five days with no questions asked. Geisinger is currently piloting same-day appointments for orthopedic and cardiology patients, aiming to launch all service lines sometime next year.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, part of Henry Ford Health System, has a unique program. Henry Ford Health System's CEO Nancy Schlichting told CBS the hospital was built to be a go-to destination. The hospital has a restaurant with fresh produce, some from an on-site greenhouse. In addition, patients are not woken up between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless necessary. The hospital is designed to feel like a luxury hotel with a spa and designer gift shops lining the way to private rooms.

Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore operates six academic and community hospitals, four healthcare and surgery centers and 39 primary and specialty care outpatient facilities. John Hopkins initiated a research project to brainstorm customer service improvements, releasing information from the proceedings in 2015. The Best Practices in Patient-Centered Care project identified how preferred hospitals deliver care. The project found these initiative enhanced customer service: hourly rounds, communication boards in patient rooms, bedside shift notifications, discharge folders for patients, post-discharge phone calls, among other strategies.

Langlade Hospital is a critical access hospital based in Antigo, Wis. The hospital broke ground to build a new patient-centered facility in 2010 to update the original 70-year-old facility that mainly supported inpatient care and proved difficult for patients to navigate. The new facility was designed to better support the growth in outpatient care and focused on improving accessibility, safety, privacy and comfort for patients. The new 23-bed facility includes updated lobbies, waiting areas, patient rooms, meeting and conference rooms, nurses' stations and a café all aimed towards improving patients' hospital experience.

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Nemours: Children's Health System, a nonprofit system with hospitals in Delaware and Florida and 722 physicians, see families as an integral part of its care plan. Nemours provides new patient appointments within three business days. In addition, its family and youth advisory councils were "instrumental" in the design and building of a new hospital, patient towers and ambulatory care center. Later this year, Nemours will become the nation's second children's health system to post physician's patient satisfaction scores online.  

Northern Westchester Hospital, a 245-bed nonprofit facility in Mount Kisco, N.Y., features a Patient-Access Tablet program which provides patients with tablets during their stay. Some tablet features include an educational video library, lab results presented through a stoplight indicator (green is good, yellow is borderline and red is alert), medication lists, games, ability to order room service and request chaplains, patient advocates and room cleanings. Northern Westchester’s Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center also has a full-time social worker and 35 trained volunteer caregiver coaches to support those attending to sick family members. In addition, each room in the hospital, including the emergency department, has a large flip frame on the foot wall of the bed that allows patients to choose different artwork from an "Art Cart." Patients choose artwork on their tablets, call for assistance to request an image and the art is shown on the flip frame.

Great Neck, N.Y.-based Northwell Health has a service area of more than 8 million New Yorkers in its 21-hospital system. Northwell Health has 6,675 beds, three nursing facilities and more than 450 ambulatory and physician practices. VP and Chief Experience Officer Sven Gierlinger said the system includes patients in the design process of all its initiatives. One Northwell facility came up with the idea of playing music in its parking garage and providing umbrellas for patients for their walk between the parking garage and entrance. The system is currently undergoing a "first impression initiative" in which hospital lobbies are being redesigned to enhance hospitality.

Philadelphia-based Penn Medicine, a 2,503-bed system with 5,314 physicians, launched an innovation tournament in 2012 to brainstorm customer service improvements. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, a 789-bed facility, offered a majority of ideas. Proposals to improve customer service included digital maps and signage, an "Almost Home" room with lounge chairs and TVs for patients checking out, bereavement rooms, making Skype available 24/7, scannable wristbands and a mobile app for patients to track care, among other ideas.

Redwood Memorial Hospital, located in Fortuna, Calif., is a 25-bed hospital that prides itself in providing quality patient care. It's part of St. Joseph Health. Using a holistic approach, the hospital attends to the physical, mental and spiritual needs of each patient. One of the hospital's main principles is that healing is always possible, even when curing is not. Redwood Memorial offers a variety of healing options including music therapy, pet therapy and a meditation garden on the hospital grounds. Staff members and physicians are encouraged to have honest, open communication with coworkers and patients to promote a quality work environment and improve patient care.

River's Edge Hospital & Clinic is a 15-bed community hospital in St. Peter, Minn. All 15 rooms are private suites, leading many former patients to say their hospital stay felt more like a hotel visit. The hospital maintains a low nurse-to-patient ratio to ensure the best quality of care and allow patients to build a stronger relationship with their nurse. River's Edge keeps open visitor hours, offers free Wi-Fi to all patients and guests, and has even jumped on the adult coloring book trend. All patients receive a coloring book and colored pencils during their visit to help them stay busy and keep their minds off any pain or discomfort. George Rohrich, CEO of River's Edge, visits patients every week to ask about their stay and receive feedback on a personal basis. All staff members outside of the medical and surgical unit participate in customer service training, which boosted patient satisfaction scores by 10 percent when it was first implemented. River's Edge also recently received five stars for patient satisfaction in CMS' Hospital Compare report.

Scripps Health, a nonprofit health system based in San Diego, employs 2,600 physicians and treats a half-million patients each year at its four hospitals and 19 outpatient facilities. The health system provides one-on-one bedside coaching for physicians and conducts physician-specific monthly score reporting through the main inpatient services. Physicians always knock before entering a room to respect patient privacy. Physicians also sit next to a patient when speaking about treatment to ensure eye contact and keep the pace of conversation comfortable for the patient. Lastly, Scripps physicians are trained to ask patients about their main "concerns" — instead of "questions" — to better address patient fear or anxiety.

Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a nonprofit system including a medical center, regional community hospitals, a children's hospital and 1,400 physicians. The system has developed a culture focused on customer experience, placing patients and their families at the center of its healthcare team. For Spectrum, being polite, helpful and courteous is expected and the minimum level of competence, Spectrum's previous innovations and patient affairs VP Kristine White, RN, told Becker's. At Spectrum, patient-centered care is discussed in the same context as patient safety, financial planning and engagement, Ms. White said.

Steward Health Care, a community-based health system located in Boston, is comprised of 10 hospitals, 24 urgent care provider locations and 3,000 physicians. The health system has invested more than $850 million in technology for its hospitals to create a more home-like environment. Patients can access gaming consoles and watch TV shows or movies in high definition through the Samsung healthcare televisions in each room. Besides entertainment, the TVs can also be used as a valuable clinical resource to educate patients about their care. Patients can watch interactive education videos in a variety of languages to better understand their treatment.

Editor's note: This article is an update to an original list including 11 hospitals.




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