Rideout participates in a number of third-party quality programs, some of which are strictly voluntary. We truly want to know how we're doing. So we don't stop there. We also conduct our own thorough program of internal research on both medical protocols and outcomes, and on patient satisfaction. These measurements along with those prepared for or collected by third-party organizations are reviewed each month by our Quality Committee.
Weekly Director-Inpatient Interviews
Each week, all the department heads at Rideout each visit two patients in their hospital rooms. It's an informal conversation but there is a set of questions that are covered during it, so that comparable information is collected in each instance. These yield around 50 sets of notes on patient opinions, concerns, questions, etc. about their hospital experience. These conversations are not about the patient's medical condition or care, but about their overall impressions of their stay at Rideout. So, in effect, Rideout has a focus group of 50 patients per week, a very valuable source of intelligence about patient perceptions, expectations and satisfaction. These conversations have regularly lead to changes or the adoption of new processes suggested by our patients.
Post-Discharge Phone Follow-up
All inpatients receive a personal call from a Rideout representative within 48 hours of being discharged from the hospital. As with the weekly conversations described above, the phone call is not about medical issues, but about the patient's experience while a patient at Rideout. Once again, the caller uses a series of set questions to understand the patient's perspective.
Clinical outcomes are still the main focus of quality measures and our program of continuous improvement. The "quality dashboard" shows real-time patient results, quarter by quarter, showing changes over several years and in comparison to state and national benchmarks. More than 200 items are measured, but criteria directly related to life-and-death situations -- heart attack, stroke, pulmonary distress -- are tracked especially closely.