Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Elk Regional Earns Two Achivement Awards

Elk Regional Health Center was one of 19 hospitals in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to earn an Achievement Award from the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) – and the only hospital to earn recognition in two categories.

This year, there were 131 entries from hospitals across the Commonwealth for HAP’s prestigious Achievement Awards, which are given in five categories including workplace, community benefit, patient safety, patient care, and operational excellence. One winner is selected to receive the Innovation Award.

Elk Regional won recognition in the operational excellence category for the culture transformation it is undergoing in an effort to improve patient satisfaction. It also won in the community benefit category for its use of a Web page and social media to increase patient engagement and to enhance the public education Elk Regional regularly conducts through more traditional channels.

“I know I speak for everyone at Elk Regional Health Center when I say that we are thrilled to have earned two of HAP’s Achievement Awards,” said Charlotte Floravit, the Public Relations Director at Elk Regional Health Center. “Everyone at Elk Regional is committed to our culture transformation, and it has been so rewarding to hear our patients and their loved ones tell us that they can see a difference at Elk Regional. We have also enjoyed the opportunity to interact on a daily basis with our patients and their loved ones online through our Web site and social media pages. These efforts have one very important thing in common – our patients.”

Culture Transformation
Elk Regional began its journey from “good” to “great” in the fall of 2012, when employees at every level of the organization were given formal customer service training by Bruce Loeffler, who developed and oversaw service excellence and showmanship training for Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center. Mr. Loeffler’s training program is still in use at Walt Disney World today.

By creating a culture of service excellence, Elk Regional took an important step toward improving its patient satisfaction scores. Like all hospitals across America, Elk Regional’s patient satisfaction scores are measured by the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) using survey results provided by patients who have been discharged. As a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the amount of federal reimbursement money a hospital earns is determined by patient satisfaction scores. Hospitals that perform better are rewarded, while hospitals that perform poorly lose money.

The results were almost immediate. The number of patient grievances filed with hospital staff dropped significantly, while employees began reporting a higher level of engagement and increased morale.

“The challenge we put before ourselves last year was simply to do everyday work better,” Mrs. Floravit said. “An organization cannot progress without a culture of excellence and without an alignment of common purpose at every level of the organization. Staff engagement is at the heart of every single positive patient experience, and we are proud to say that our efforts have made and will continue to make a difference for our patients and their loved ones.”

Pictured above is the team that worked on the culture transformation project that earned Elk Regional an achievement award. From left are Christine Garner, RN, Director of Quality; Kathy FinGado, Corporate Compliance Officer; Charlotte Floravit, Director of Public Relations; Timothy Ohrum, Vice President of Advocacy for the Hospital & Health System Association of Pennsylvania; Curt Oberholtzer, SPHR, Chief Human Resources Officer; Seanna D’Amore, Director of Human Resources; and Karen Meholic, Director of Elk Regional Professional Group.

Community Engagement
Like most hospitals and health systems, Elk Regional has always had a very strong focus on traditional marketing and advertising outlets. While those strategies remain part of landscape in which our organization must communicate, the ways in which people consume information have changed dramatically.

In the spring of 2010, Elk Regional was preparing to launch a completely redesigned Web site. As that project was under way, the organization’s Public Relations Department made the decision to simultaneously launch a social media portfolio for the organization that included a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, a YouTube channel, and a blog.

Elk Regional now interacts daily with nearly 460 people on its Facebook page and more than 100 people via Twitter. Information videos posted on its YouTube channel have received more than 11,200 views, and the Health Center's official blog attracts several hundred visits every month. The social media pages are intended to supplement information posted on the Health Center’s official Web site, which averages nearly 20,000 page views every month.

“Studies have shown that almost 50 percent of adults in the United States use some form of social media,” Mrs. Floravit said. “We felt that communicating effectively with our patients meant offering them a way to connect with us in the digital space. Since we launched our new Web site and social media profiles, we’ve added a mobile-friendly Web site and are considering adding other social media sites, such as Instagram, to our online portfolio.”