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October 12, 2010 > Center for Joint Replacement Wins Top Customer Service Accolades

Center for Joint Replacement Wins Top Customer Service Accolades

Center's Staff Strives to Provide "High Level of Care in a Personal Way"

For the fifth year in a row, Washington Hospital's renowned Center for Joint Replacement has received a Five Star Customer Service Award from Professional Research Consultants (PRC).

To achieve this, the Center for Joint Replacement scored in the top 10 percent nationally based on "Excellent" patient responses in the category of "Inpatient Orthopedic Services Overall Quality of Care."

Even more impressive is the fact that The Center for Joint Replacement received the Top Performer Award for 2007, 2009 and 2010 for obtaining the highest ranking nationally of all orthopaedic surgery units surveyed. The Top Performer Award is PRC's highest honor.

According to the Center's Medical Director and orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. John Dearborn, these awards speak to a consistent level of outstanding care that goes well beyond the state-of-the-art surgery techniques he and his team employ.

"For the survey, these patients are asked a series of questions regarding topics such as pain management, staff responsiveness and the level of compassion," Dr. Dearborn explains. "We were talking about this on the unit recently - that the award is really a comment on our continuum of care, from the time the patient arrives at the hospital, to the time they leave the care unit and continue their rehab and recovery at home.

"The Customer Service Award truly represents the whole process from A to Z."

Dr. Dearborn says the Center's mission statement, drafted in 1998, which includes "efficient yet highly personal care," fits seamlessly within Washington Hospital's longstanding commitment to the Patient First Ethic.

"You can look at objective data, such as infection rates or hospital readmissions, for an indication of performance, but these awards also reflect how personal the care is that is being delivered to our patients," he says. "There are plenty of centers that might be dong a perfectly good job minimizing complications, but if the patient doesn't feel a personal connection with everyone along the way, he or she won't have such a positive feeling about the care as a whole.

"We are delivering this high level care in a personal way. When we get rated No. 1 in the country, I think the entire patient care team - from myself to the nurses and therapy staff - is doing a great job of keeping it personal."

And Dr. Dearborn is adamant that it takes the entire staff to make each patient's experience at the Center top notch.

"The team makes me better than I am," he says. "The reputation of our program is so much more than about me or my partner Dr. Sah working in a vacuum. It's about the staff in the OR and on the CJR care unit. The nursing and therapy staff members love caring and serving, and it shows."

Since the Center's formal beginning in 1998, the volume of minimally invasive joint replacement surgeries has grown tremendously. In fact, the number of surgeries has nearly tripled since just 2006 - but never at the cost of individualized care, according to Dr. Dearborn.

"I've been the medical director from the beginning, and I've been able to watch this program grow," he says. "Small companies often find their success in their ability to focus on the individual's needs. When companies grow too quickly that personal touch might get lost. When we can still live under the same mission statement, despite operating at such a high volume, that says something. We haven't fallen into that trap of becoming busier yet less personal.

"We have achieved the customer service award every year despite the massive growth. It means a lot to me as the captain of the ship that patients under our care feel their experience was as personal now, with us performing 30 joint replacements a week, as it was in 2006 when we averaged 10 or 12."

The program's high volume has other perks, Dr. Dearborn adds.

"Because of the repetition and the streamlining that follows, the clinical care protocols become rote to the nursing and therapy staff. They don't have to think, 'what do I do with this patient today?' - they already know," he says. "Instead, the team can focus on relating to the patients on a deeper level. And that is something that patients don't always expect when they're in the hospital, which gives them a very positive feeling about the care experience.

"Many of our patients have said, 'I don't even feel like I'm in the hospital.' It's part of what makes our program unique from others across the country."

Professional Research Consultants is an independent firm in Omaha, Nebraska that specializes in rating hospitals based on patient satisfaction data. PRC provides survey tools and resources to assist health care facilities to evaluate clinical and operational performance. There were 250 hospitals participating in this particular survey. Patients who had an inpatient stay or outpatient visit within Washington Hospital Healthcare System were randomly selected to participate in a survey by phone during which answered questions regarding their care.

To learn more about Washington Hospital's Center for Joint Replacement, visit www.whhs.com/joint or call (888) 494-7003.


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