April 20, 2023

Patients, families share positive feedback on their VUMC experiences

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s mission is “personalizing the patient experience through our caring spirit and remarkable capabilities,” and the positive feedback from patients and families will be celebrated during Patient Experience Week, April 23-29.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s mission is “personalizing the patient experience through our caring spirit and remarkable capabilities,” and the positive feedback from patients and families is being celebrated during Patient Experience Week, April 23-29.

“Our patients continually recognize and are thankful for all of the things we do right here at VUMC. Patient Experience Week is a time to recognize and appreciate the excellent, personalized care we provide to each and every patient,” said Brian Carlson, Vice President, Patient Experience.

The patient and family promise sets the expectations for what VUMC patients expect and how to deliver personalized care. The best way to recognize and appreciate those promises is through the stories that patients share about their experiences.

“I became a patient of Dr. Lee’s when I was pregnant with my first child in 2014,” writes a former VUMC patient in a Patient and Family Choice Award nomination. “Eight years and two additional children later, my husband and I consider Dr. Lee a friend. Throughout all three pregnancies and deliveries, he provided exceptional care. He took time to address any concerns we may have had along the way and was always available if we needed anything. During the delivery, the baby’s heart rate started dropping. Had another doctor been with me that day, I would have been scared. I knew something wasn’t quite right because it was taking longer than it had with my other two, but I trusted him and his expertise so much that I was able to remain calm and listen to exactly what he was instructing me to do. We delivered the baby without issues, and I will forever be grateful to Dr. Lee.”

Providing compassionate care is especially important during these challenging times, and nurses play a critical role in helping to ease the fears and anxieties of their young patients and their caregivers.

“My son was hospitalized in the PICU back in September 2021 due to acute respiratory failure in the setting of RSV. Korena was our first nurse when we were admitted to the PICU. I remember feeling her warmth and kindness and authentic care immediately. She felt like a true angel in one of the darkest and scariest situations a mother and her newborn could go through,” a parent shared regarding their experience at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

When a patient arrives at the hospital, they are often feeling vulnerable, scared and uncertain. A warm welcome can go a long way in easing anxiety and contribute to a positive patient experience.

“Mr. Thomas was the patient/family greeter that welcomes people to the ER. He was so kind, welcoming, respectful and helpful during my visit. I watched him handle difficult patients in the waiting room with such compassion. At the end of his shift Mr. Thomas found me to tell me goodbye and wish me luck. I am thankful I met him,” a patient shared.

VUMC receives nearly 270,000 surveys and more than 280,000 comments annually, a number that continues to grow as both clinical locations and services expand. Scores related to patient experience continue to improve year over year.  “We know from patient feedback that it is the relationship and how we make them feel that patients remember and make for an outstanding experience,” Carlson said.

Four of VUMC’s survey areas — Vanderbilt University Hospital Inpatient, Pediatric ED, Medical Practice (provider-based visits), and Urgent Care — are performing in the top quartile (above the 75th percentile) compared to all other health care organizations in the large Press Ganey benchmark.

Positive comments now exceed 76% of the comments received, compared to four years ago when about 66% of patient comments were positive. Most of the positive remarks share praise for the doctors, nurses and staff and how VUMC employees make them feel. A large number of positive comments also relate to VUMC’s reputation and patients’ loyalty to the Medical Center.

“I am so proud of how VUMC has prioritized ‘design for patient and families’ and how the workforce has embraced ‘caring for people in a compassionate and personalized way,” said Paul Sternberg Jr., MD, outgoing chief medical officer for the Vanderbilt Medical Group and chief patient experience officer for VUMC.

“Despite the challenges of a pandemic and staffing shortages, the Medical Center continues to show impressive performance in our patient satisfaction surveys. From stopping to help lost patients to developing a personal connection in our caregiver/patient interactions, you live and breathe our Credo and Patient and Family Promise. You make VUMC an extraordinary place to work and to receive health care.”