Case Study: Jefferson Regional Medical Center

John Morkavich, Manager of Surgical/Sterile Processing at Jefferson Regional Medical Center Had a Customer Service Problem.

This is how he fixed it.

Pine Bluff, AR





"After training we raised our score from the 44th to the 97th percentile, the highest workgroup score out of our 22 hospital system."


Kantola: What was the problem you were trying to solve?
John Morkavich: In healthcare, we constantly battle with things like communication skills, phone etiquette, management, diversity training. When you put that together with HR departments being shrunk, more responsibility is being put onto every manager and director of every department to do something to correct those behaviors. 

For example, we participate in the Press Ganey patient satisfaction surveys for integrated health care delivery systems.  My workgroup, materials management—purchasing, warehousing, distribution, and sterile processing—scored in the 44th percentile.  This meant that of the materials management groups in our 22 hospital system, mine scored the lowest.  I needed to fix it.

K: Why did you select Kantola?
JM: I discovered Kantola about eight years ago and your competitors cost so much more.  To implement them I’d have to chase signatures up the chain of command in order to make a purchase.  By now I’ve shown eight or nine of your videos to my team, especially those dealing with communication and diversity.

K: What results have you experienced?
JM: The issue is that my team didn’t even recognize that there was a customer service problem.  They had to realize that it’s a problem when they don’t write down someone’s phone number, when they don’t listen to the other person’s point of view, when they don’t bring an issue to the attention of a supervisor.  Your videos helped them with this recognition. After training we raised our score from the 44th to the 97th percentile, the highest workgroup score out of our 22 hospital system.

Look at diversity.  I had an issue within my workgroup where some employees were ostracizing a new employee, refraining from providing her with necessary information.  Of course, when I’m around them, they all report that everything is all sweetness and grace.  It was only during the exit interview, when she transferred out, that she said, “I didn’t think telling you this was happening to me would matter.”  It does matter and for a profoundly important reason.

Surprisingly, hospitals are rated by patients for our “hotel amenities.” They care deeply about finding parking spaces, vending machines that work, and having comfortable pillows.  They rate us on cleanliness, decent artwork, and if someone helps them with directions.

In the future it’s very likely that hospitals will be reimbursed based upon their patient satisfaction scores and outcomes.  Our profitability may increasingly be based upon how well our patients perceive they are being treated.  This is a customer service challenge, not a healthcare delivery challenge.

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