what makes your hospital experience excellent?

[[{"fid":"5856","view_mode":"default","type":"media","attributes":{"height":224,"width":224,"style":"float: left; border-width: 5px; border-style: solid; margin-right: 200px; margin-left: 200px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

In this post I will be asking more questions than answering, so I am depending upon YOU to add content for others to see, read, and comment upon.


and Thank You in advance


We are all on a quest for excellence. At least I hope we all are.


Hospitals are graded on excellence-did you know that?




It turns out that the ONLY thing that matters when a patient or a family member completes a survey (our "official" ones are completed by phone and take approximately 20 minutes to complete), hospitals are graded according to the "per cent excellent" ratings they are given by the person on the other end of the phone.The surveys contain numerous questions about the experience-the doctors, the nurses, the environment, the food, the teamwork, the bathroom, and so on. Would you rate your experience as excellent? Or if there was a single "glitch" in the experience, would you consider this a "very good" experience?

I know that I am a tough grader. My students and residents clearly know that. I almost NEVER rank anything or any one as EXCELLENT, if I think there is at least some room for improvement. So, I suspect that many of you feel the same way. Unfortunately, the per cent excellent ratings for hospitals are what COUNT in determination of some of the payments that hospitals receive from government payers. I wonder if I knew that, when I was answering a survey question, whether I would be more inclined to answer EXCELLENT when I would otherwise have said VERY GOOD.

I am currently working on some of these very issues for the larger Carilion Clinic system (not just the children's hospital), and would really like some help from you. If you have ever been a patient yourself, have had a loved one in the hospital, or have been a visitor (even if you are also a hospital employee) please let me know what matters most to you.

So, how do we manage to achieve excellence as a "grade" on the patient satisfaction surveys?

I truly would like to hear your responses to that question. What matters MOST to you when you or your child (or other family member for that matter) is hospitalized?

Is it

  • Cleanliness?
  • Teamwork between doctors and nurses?
  • Communication with the physician in charge of the care?
  • Communication with the consultant physicians?
  • Food services?
  • Nurses responding quickly to your requests?
  • Getting explanations of medications, tests and treatments?
  • Others that I haven't mentioned?

Or, let's look at it the other way.

What types of things could happen, that would potentially negate the overall effects of an otherwise excellent hospital stay? I know one complaint we hear occasionally in the Children's Hospital is that the food that was delivered did not match the child's dietary needs. While this may seem to us to be a relatively small issue in the overall approach to caring for this patient, it can be enormously important to the patient and the family. It can make the family feel as though we are not paying attention. Then they wonder if there are other things that we didn't pay attention to. 

What are the other "trigger points" for you, and what should we do if for some reason one of these things happens despite our best efforts to prevent them? Is there anything that can help us to recover your trust if we do make a mistake?


I appreciate your willingness to put your thoughts down here. This will truly help me, and help us on our ongoing quest for EXCELLENCE.

photo credit: photopin

About Dr. Ackerman

Alice Ackerman, MD, MBA, FAAP, FCCM is the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Carilion Clinic and Professor and Founding Chair of Pediatrics at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Ackerman is recognized nationally as an expert in pediatric critical care.

She has been at Carilion Clinic since June of 2007. Her primary goals are to enhance the health care of children in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia, and is actively working to do this both as physician in chief of the children's hospital, as well as through involvement with many state-wide initiatives.

Close to home links

Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital
Carilion Clinic Pediatric Services
Children’s Miracle Network
Follow me on Twitter
Pediatric Residency Facebook Page
The AAP website for parents
Just the Vax
Moms Who Vax blog
Parents Who Protect
Roanoke Times Medical blog
Running a hospital blog


Via RSS  |  Via Email


Follow me