The fourth annual Marriott Service Excellence Awards show that more providers have created programs designed to boost patient satisfaction and employee morale.
Some 226 service programs were entered this year, more than double the 94 entries in 1995. Fifty of the entries were picked as finalists by the judges.
Winners were selected in four categories: Values Integration, Vision, Patient Service and Internal Service. Each category winner receives a $5,000 award, to be divided evenly between the team and the sponsoring healthcare organization.
The awards are sponsored by Marriott Health Care Services and MODERN HEALTHCARE.
Here is a summary of the four categories and the winners:
The Values Integration Award is given to a program that fosters a service culture that reflects the organization's values. This year's winner is Canonsburg (Pa.) General Hospital's Watchful Shepherd program.
The Vision category recognizes a program that promotes service integration while supporting the patient as the center of care and provider collaboration. The winner is the Quality of Life program at United Methodist Homes' Pearl and Everett Gilmour Health Care Facility in Norwich, N.Y.
The Patient Service category rewards initiatives that improve the provider's responsiveness to patient needs, preferences and expectations. The winner is the Cancer Navigator program at Alameda County Medical Center-Highland Campus in Oakland, Calif.
The Internal Service Award salutes a program designed to improve intradepartmental or facility service, teamwork and performance. The winner is the customer relations program at Columbia Four Rivers Medical Center in Selma, Ala.
Winners were determined by their ability to show creativity and innovation, evidence of an impact on operations, customer focus and successful outcomes.
"Although we applaud the four winners, we were equally impressed with the overall quality of the entries," said Kristine Peterson, president of K.E. Peterson consulting firm in Chicago and chair of the panel of judges. "It's obvious that healthcare organizations are meeting the challenges of innovation and focusing on the customer."
Martyn W.C. Howgill, chief marketing officer for University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and one of the judges, commended the applicants for recognizing the importance of high-quality service.
"It takes courage for institutions to try new things, and a willingness to experiment," he said. "The process of benchmarking is valuable, but every region and institution is different, and it's easy to benefit in learning what others have learned."
The other judges were:
Joyce Flory, a Chicago-based consultant.
Gail Larson, senior vice president and general manager of women's and children's services at University Hospitals of Cleveland.
Peter E. Makowski, chief executive officer of Citrus Valley Health Partners, Covina, Calif.
Rhoda Weiss, president of Rhoda Weiss & Associates, a Santa Monica, Calif., consulting group.
The customer service team at United Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyo., also helped in the judging.