by CRDAMC Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas–‘An Exceptional Patient Experience Every Single Time,’ CDRAMC’s motto, is a daily reminder for staff to pursue excellence in meeting patient needs.  And the CRDAMC team is up for the challenge, accomplishing the feat of improving the patient experience through skillful and deliberate patient-centered action, all driven by customer feedback.

The most recent Joint Outpatient Experience Survey (JOES) results reflect CRDAMC’s commitment to customer service.  Scoring 93.4 percent in overall customer satisfaction, CRDAMC now ranks third within the region.

“I am proud of our team’s hard work, as it has taken a lot of effort and collaboration with our patients to achieve our high satisfaction scores,” said Col. Richard Malish, CRDAMC Commander. “However, our journey doesn’t end here.  To continue providing patients an exceptional experience every time they visit CRDAMC, we look forward to continued feedback.  It is important for patients to let us know how well we are meeting their needs and where we can continue to improve our services.”

JOES provides beneficiaries who receive care within the military health system the opportunity to share their patient experiences.  The multi-question survey focuses on the patient’s entire experience, asking them to rate how the appointment was made; whether they had difficulties with making an appointment; provider courtesy, helpfulness, knowledgeability, and communication; services received at the pharmacy, radiology, and lab; and the patient’s general experience.  Survey results are separated by category so that medical facilities can analyze and assess their performance in multiple areas.  It also enables facilities to compare their results to civilian health sector benchmark results.

“The results give us a wealth of information,” James Lanning, CRDAMC’s chief of Patient Experience Division said. “Being able to analyze, monitor and measure the data is really the driving factor for our success in improving our customer satisfaction. The data helps us identify trends in specific areas where process or policy changes may be needed, and it allows us to monitor and compare the data to determine if what we’ve implemented made a positive impact on our patient experiences.”

“In areas where CRDAMC is receiving high satisfaction scores, we identify what clinics and staff are doing, then share that across the facility in the form of best practices.  This enables us to focus efforts and improve experiences on a larger scale.”

For instance Lanning said, “To help improve customer service ratings, leadership looked for opportunities to improve staff morale and job satisfaction.  By developing more training opportunities to improve staff skills and by empowering employees to initiate process improvements, the voluntary ‘ASK ME’ program was developed.  This program encourages and enables staff members to serve as dedicated customer service ambassadors CRDAMC.  After implementing these changes, staff courtesy, respectfulness and helpfulness began to increase.”

Lanning also referenced the pharmacy, which improved its satisfaction score to 88 percent, a 20 percent improvement.  Based on patient feedback, CRDAMC identified opportunities to improve access, overall pharmacy experience, and staff interactions.  As a result, the pharmacy simplified the Q-Flow ticket check-in categories, implemented a prescription drop-off option, and initiated administrative changes to improve all-around staff morale and well-being.

“We truly appreciate our patients taking the time to fill out the surveys and value all the feedback we receive – its like gold to us,” Lanning said.  “What would really send us over the top though is getting much more, continuous feedback. We need everyone to help us by filling out a survey if they receive one.”

To help make survey completion easier, JOES was redesigned.  The goal is to capture patient experiences within a month of receiving care, and patients will typically receive one survey every 90 days following care.  The best part is that it can now be completed in five minutes by mail or electronically.

Historically, JOES return rates vary, and at times are not high throughout the whole system.  The number of surveys sent to patients is based on the number facility encounters, so a maximum return rate helps CRDAMC fully capture its patient experiences.  To encourage higher return rates, the Defense Health Agency is testing a JOES Text Messaging program.  Lanning said that CRDAMC is one of two MTFs that have been selected as a pilot site. Under this program beneficiaries may receive a survey via text message.  Marketing studies indicate that text messaging surveys have a much higher return rate.

“I can’t express enough how important it is for our patients to fill out the JOES they receive.  All ratings and comments are reviewed by CRDAMC leaders and are kept confidential,” Lanning said. “It truly is the best way for patients to directly impact the quality of their health services.  The more information we have, the better we can take care of our patients and guarantee an exceptional patient experience every single time!”