St. Peter’s Hospital: A Dramatic Rise in Patient Satisfaction Scores

St. Peter’s Hospital is the sole adult acute care hospital in Helena, Montana. In spite of its sole provider status, hospital management is always working to achieve a level of service excellence that will ensure that every person who calls or visits the hospital or one of its physicians is treated with kindness, respect, sensitivity and efficiency.

When patient feedback indicated problems with patient access and customer service in certain outpatient departments, management decided to thoroughly explore the reasons for the complaints. They chose to take a step beyond traditional patient satisfaction measurements and asked Devon Hill Associates to engage mystery shoppers to provide detailed feedback about their individual experiences.

With only seven mystery shoppers posing as “real patients,” Devon was able to help the hospital identify where changes needed to be made. The mystery shoppers scheduled appointments and became patients in the outpatient departments, including the Same Day Surgery area. They wrote comprehensive narratives of their experiences and completed detailed questionnaires. Devon analyzed their feedback and submitted a report of its findings.

After sharing the mystery shopping results at the quarterly CEO forums and with the hospital Board, the Patient Satisfaction Team took a “deep dive” into the detailed feedback and developed solutions. Hospital management used the report to enhance the patient experience and improve patient safety. According to Tammy Buyok, Vice President, the staff was very receptive and interested in the results, and no one felt like they had been “spied upon.”

As a result of the mystery shopping and the changes that were made, patient satisfaction scores doubled.

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Devon Hill Associates is a mystery shopping, marketing and sales training company that focuses on the healthcare and long-term care industries. We specialize in mystery shopping for hospitals, HMOs, clinics, nursing homes, assisted living and retirement communities nationwide. Devon Hill Associates is located in La Jolla, California. For information on mystery shopping and other services, call 1-858-456-7800.

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