Sometimes one smile from a City of Hope employee, one “hello” or one simple offer to help can make a huge difference to a patient or family member. City of Hope’s iCARE initiative shows the deep and lasting ways that staff members can improve patients’ visits to the medical center.
The iCARE initiative aims to ensure that patients receive excellent service, are treated compassionately and have an outstanding experience at City of Hope. It is part of Accelerating City of Hope Excellence, a program driving improvements to benefit patients. And iCARE recently reached a milestone worth celebrating.
Lisa-Marie Zamora, right, and Maila Garrido, left, consult with iCare service champion Wendy Arteaga. (Photo by p.cunningham)
Seventeen City of Hope iCARE “service champions” recently came together to mark the success of projects they created during 2011 to improve care and patient satisfaction. The employee service champions represent five departments and services that help create a first impression about City of Hope among patients and families: Outpatient Registration, Phlebotomy, Patient Access, Standard Parking and Ambulatory Scheduling.
“Service champions are employees who act as leaders within their areas, promoting initiative, compassion, respect, excellence and a deep concern and sensitivity for patient needs,” said Tricia Kassab, R.N., B.S.N., M.S., vice president of quality and patient safety.
Over the past year, these employees committed to monthly workshops to address patient-care issues. Within each area, they identified challenges patients commonly faced and then created ways to solve those problems. Among the many projects:
- Patients entering the medical center often had trouble seeing who was available to help them at the registration desk. Now all employees sit where patients can see them, which also evened out the workload for employees, improving morale.
- Patients at the third-floor scheduling area often were confused about which line to stand in, so the room was rearranged to make options clearer.
- Phlebotomy now has juice immediately available for patients who feel weak after having their blood drawn.
- Standard Parking employees at the front kiosk often struggled to help patients find their way because the employees were unfamiliar with parts of the medical center. Project participants created an information sheet to help kiosk staff know how and where to direct patients and visitors. Parking employees also created a program to ensure all patients are greeted with warmth and a smile.
- No magazines or newspapers were available in Spanish for patients and visitors in lobby areas, so one service champion held a bake sale and raised funds for magazine subscriptions. She also solicited donated Spanish reading materials through City of Hope’s e-Board classified ads. These periodicals are now available in all lobby areas.
Service champions also developed other new ways to improve care, such as a suggestion box and a mystery-patient program in which employees went undercover as patients to better understand patients’ experiences.
“Patient satisfaction scores increased in areas involved in the service champions pilot program,” Kassab said. “We hope to use these results to broaden the program in the future.”
The iCARE service champions included Amanda Arceo, Diana Armenta, Irene Arteaga, Wendy Arteaga, Sheila Carr, Jeff Giles, Rose Gonzales-Cobery, Lorena Gonzalez, Francisco “Danny” Mendoza, Hernando Queens, Paula Ramos, Jodie Reitan, Luigi Sevillano, Debra Vasquez, Raquel Vera, Lucy Vizcarrondo and Mark Wheat.
To learn more about iCARE, visit www.coh.org/iCARE.