In 2003, patient satisfaction with the Environmental Services Department at 157-bed OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill., ranked at the 83rd percentile for friendliness and the 69th percentile for cleanliness, according to the Press Ganey Associates measurement tool. By 2007, patients ranked the facility at 99th and 95th to 97th, respectively.
During that same time period, the employee turnover rate has decreased from 48% to 14%, creating a savings of $8,000 to $9,000 in processing costs, and the department has saved an estimated $6,000 per year in laundering costs and $12,000 in cleaning products. For these achievements, OSF St. Joseph has received the 2007 Spirit Award for Service.
To bring about these results, the hospital has implemented a daily, 15-minute briefing for environmental services staff to provide consistent, concise information. The department has created a three contact rule that requires employees to introduce themselves, explain how long the employee will be there and what theyll be doing, and then thank the patient for staying at the hospital.
The department also has measured performance through the Glo Testing tool, which highlights insufficiently cleaned areas of the room.
Employees look forward to it, says Kevin Kennel, director of environmental services. Theyre like, Please, come check my room. I want to see how I did. Thats the ultimate, if youre a director.
Kennel says that his employee relations prior to the initiative had been rocky because he did not prioritize well, and the initial response in his department had been negative. How did my staff respond to it? Not well, he says. It was just due to the fact of my leadership at the time. What I did was ask for their support, build trust and apologize for my past. And then, things just started to skyrocket.
The departments three-week orientation program has helped to spark the changes, Kennel says. Theres no way you can learn everything in two to three days, he says, adding that all new hires are evaluated at the end of three months. We use the Glo Testing as a final exam to see how they do in an isolation room.
Service Award judge George Mikitarian, president and chief executive officer of 210-bed Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Fla., says he recognized the benefits for both patients and staff. This organization has recognized the key role that all staff can play in meeting patient expectations, he says. OSF St. Joseph has changed a culture vs. developing a series of programs, and has thus created an environment that is safe, friendly and caring.