to be with our patients in preop and recovery. For adult patients, we allow one other adult to be with them. For children, we allow both parents.” Even after a procedure, engage- ment remains a priority at Montgom- ery Surgical Center, Westhoff says. “We do a postop phone call made by the nurse who took care of the patient. It is a way of providing con- tinuity of care. We give all patients a ‘thank you’ card signed by everyone who was involved in their ASC expe- rience. Managers’ phone numbers are also included, so patients know who to call if they have feedback.” Wilson says patient engagement is

most effective when efforts cater to specific patients. “ASCs serve a broad constituent of patients, with varying needs, wants and capability. We should recognize that all patients are not at the same place in life. Some patients want information at the speed of light. They are interested in when, where, how much does it cost and how long does it take. Some patients require a more personal touch. They need contact, possibly more than once, explanations and more information. “The ability to recognize your

patient population is a must, and the engagement strategy should match the needs of that population. One size does not fit all,” she adds.

Continuous Improvement SPH Analytics recognizes organiza- tions with high levels of excellence in patient satisfaction and overall care with the APEX Quality Award. Rivera says recipients often take similar approaches to patient engagement. “Many of the winners have a continuous improve- ment plan. They use survey tools to aid them in identifying problem areas and creating action plans.” Montgomery Surgical Center uses patient satisfaction surveys to fur- ther the engagement process and help drive improvements, Westhoff says.

In today’s environment, where patients face a steep learning curve about costs, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, information in a format that can be understood by patients is a win.”

—Pauline Wilson, Amsurg

When survey completion rates recently declined, the ASC acted. “We are working hard to increase

awareness of the survey,” she says. “We have a large, laminated copy of the survey in the waiting room for patients to review. We are also step- ping up our efforts to obtain patient email addresses through which to dis- tribute the survey. We ask patients for their email address during the pre- registration phone call, during the preop phone call from the nurse and at registration on the day of their pro- cedure. Anyone who provides their email address is entered into draw- ings for $100 gift certificates, which we publicize.” Patient engagement is taking on even greater significance with the

development of the Consumer Assess- ment of Healthcare Providers and Sys- tems Outpatient and Ambulatory Sur- gery Survey (OAS CAHPS), says Jay Bishop, vice president of product man- agement for SPH Analytics. The sur- vey is currently voluntary but will be mandatory for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)-certified ASCs beginning in 2018.

“Since CMS introduced the CAHPS survey, patient engagement in the acute care setting has increased in importance,” he says. “Hospitals are now reimbursed based on how they perform, and patient engagement is one of those measures. With OAS CAHPS, the world of CAHPS is essen- tially coming to the outpatient setting. This means the importance of patient engagement in ASCs will increase.” ASCs looking to boost their patient

engagement efforts would be wise to improve their transparency in areas including cost and wait times, Wil- son advises. “In today’s environment, where patients face a steep learning curve about costs, deductibles, copay- ments and coinsurance, information in a format that can be understood by patients is a win. Patients expect to wait and are aware that emergencies happen. What they do not appreciate is waiting without being told what is hap- pening. Messaging around how long things will take and changes to expec- tations are also a win.” Patients notice when their health providers work

care to deliver an

excellent experience, Rivera says. “ASCs can separate themselves from other providers by showing overall concern for and interest in the wellbe- ing of patients.”

These are goals for Montgomery

Surgical Center, Westhoff says. “Patients have a choice for where they go for care. We want to be their choice.”


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