It Takes a Team: 4 Ways the Right Patient Support Staff Makes All the Difference
When you face an injury, you likely have one person on your mind—your medical provider. But the truth is, your orthopedic care isn’t only between you and your doctor. There is a whole team of patient support staff members who work hard to ensure you are satisfied throughout your experience.
At the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we’ve studied the crucial role every member of our staff plays in your positive outcome. We know it takes a team. Here are four ways the right patient support staff leads to success in patient care.
1. THEY VIEW PATIENTS AS INDIVIDUALS
Every patient, every injury, every body, and every situation we see is unique. We may see dozens of ACL tears, but each story and each patient is a little different. That’s why distinctive, tailored care plays a huge difference in patient outcomes.
At many hospitals, patient support staff like nurses may see five or more patients per day. This constant hustle and bustle may help move cases along, but it also results in errors and missteps. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania looked at the Kaiser Permanente health network (hospitals in California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida). They discovered a lower nurse-to-patient ratio and higher job satisfaction resulted in better patient care and outcomes.
Here at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we know patient support staff is a vital component to patient satisfaction and recovery. We work hard to ensure that, whenever possible, our nurses partner with no more than three patients per day.
Our low nurse-to-patient ratio allows our team to provide individualized care. The staff members become more than just care providers–they become allies to shepherd patients through their experience, ensuring they get exactly the care and attention needed for a full recovery. We know individual attention makes a huge difference in patient success and satisfaction.
2. THEY INVEST IN OUTCOMES
OHOW is a physician-owned organization, so our team is highly invested in the well-being of our patients. Because we’re focused only on orthopedics, we offer the latest treatments and the highest standard of care.
Studies found physician-owned hospitals score up to 25% higher in patient satisfaction. Doctors often bring expertise to the table that increases the job satisfaction of patient support staff as well as the happiness and well-being of patients themselves. The Harvard Business Review even goes as far as to say the best hospitals are those managed by doctors.
When physicians and patient support staff invest in their workplace and the surrounding community, they report less burnout. We often see lower rates of turnover and even fewer mistakes. It’s an understanding of the importance of this buy-in that has made OHOW the top-rated orthopedic hospital in Wisconsin.
We’ve invested in our community because we know we’re serving our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. For this same reason, we continue to give back to Wisconsin, like our recent gift to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to facilitate a new training facility, alleviating congestion on campus and allowing students more space for fitness.
3. THEY EMPATHIZE WITH PATIENTS
Empathy is a crucial trait for patient support staff. We seek staff who view our patients as people, first and foremost. Our team knows they are treating their friends, parents, siblings, and children. There is nothing more precious than the health of our loved ones.
The medical world is often uncertain and frightening, especially to someone experiencing an injury. Navigating through scheduling, treatment options, and insurance is often overwhelming, even for those familiar with the system. That’s why we work closely with our patients to help them navigate comfortably.
Our patient support staff understands the importance of post-surgical rehabilitation in your recovery. When you leave OHOW, you need the tools to continue your journey and resume the activities you enjoy. This recovery takes time and planning, which is why a dedicated patient support staff is so critical to your care plan. We understand what you’re feeling, and we want you to feel prepared when you leave our doorstep.
4. THEY VIEW PATIENT CARE AS CUSTOMER SERVICE
Patient care is customer service. Medicine differs from typical business in that many customers are there of necessity, not desire. Still, there is no other industry as service-based as medicine. It is our role to ensure your patient experience is exemplary.
For that reason, we listen carefully to every patient we serve. Each patient is given a survey after their treatment. Brian Cramer, CEO of Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, reads the comments of every single patient satisfaction survey for all 7000+ patients we treat annually.
It’s through this feedback we’re able to plan and adjust our care. Patients value simple acts such as a friendly greeting and a more in-depth explanation of the procedure they’re about to undergo. Our physicians and patient support staff use the information from our patient feedback to ensure we’re continuing to provide the best care possible. We are always striving to do better, looking for ways to improve and grow.
We call this dedication to patient care the OHOW difference, and you see the difference represented by every member of our patient support staff who play a crucial role in your health and happiness. At Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, we take this role very seriously.