Overcome obstacles to have happy patients

Identify the biggest dissatisfiers

Too much time spent waiting and too many phone calls were the two things that patients complained about most often regarding registration at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver.

Patient access leaders learned this from the hospital’s SHARE cards, which are used by patients, visitors, or staff to share suggestions, compliments, or complaints. The completed cards are sent to the managers of each department.

“When we receive these cards, we take them very seriously. We reward staff that get compliments, and we address the complaints and suggestions as they come in,” says Jeryl Wikoff, formerly the hospital’s patient access manager and current patient access manager at Castle Rock (CO) Adventist Hospital. Here is how patient access leaders addressed these top two patient dissatisfiers:

• Managers reviewed staff schedules to make sure there was adequate staffed for peak volumes.

“We ended up shifting our scheduling. We had a registrar come in 30 minutes early, to help with the morning surgery volume we were seeing,” Wikoff says.

• Patient access employees pre-register 98% of patients at least two weeks out.

Staff pre-register patients while scheduling their appointments over the phone. “We do as much as we can during the scheduling piece so we can avoid an additional phone call,” she says.

• Patient access staff members review all of the prep instructions for radiology procedures, so radiology doesn’t have to make a separate call to patients.

“We also work benefits and price estimates two weeks out for our scheduled patients, so we can try combining the pre-registration call with the patient portion call,” says Wikoff.

• Patient access employees send letters to surgical patients that explain their benefits and insurance coverage, and it gives them a number to call at their convenience should they have questions.

“We also ask for payment over the phone when discussing benefits with the patient. This speeds up the registration time,” says Wikoff. “We try to do as much upfront for the patient as we can.”


For more information on improving patient satisfaction, contact:

Jeryl Wikoff, Manager, Patient Access, Castle Rock Adventist Hospital. Email: JerylWikoff@Centura.org.