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Phoebe instituting patient satisfaction program

ALBANY -- Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is now looking at ways to not only improve the quality of care, but of the quality of life during a person's stay.

The hospital is working to implement a program dubbed Phoebe Experience, which focuses on ways to improve patient satisfaction.

"This is cutting edge," said Lacy Lee, director of the program. "My goal is to see everything through the eyes of the patient."

In Lee's presentation to the hospital board Wednesday, some of the methods of getting the program up and running included creating an advisory council of former patients, identifying national best practices and developing a customized training program.

Some of the more immediate things may be to make some changes to the hospital environment, such as with lighting and noise, Lee explained.

"Hospitals are noisy places," she said. "We need to figure out how to get the noise down."

A few other things the program is looking into include "high touch" services, such as room service, and an interactive TV service.

"This is all about what matters," Lee said. "It's not just clinical care; it's everyone. It's all about making sure we are serving others."

Phoebe Experience will also continue to seek input from sources such as patient satisfaction surveys, letters from patients, nursing and staff input, as well as other outlets.

"This is a big, big focus of ours," said Joe Austin, chief operating officer with the hospital's parent company, Phoebe Putney Health System.

Rick Collett, vice president of operations at the hospital, also gave the board an overview of the home care program. Those working in it had roughly 35,000 visits in 2008 to provide care to patients at home.

"We are going to homes that might be a trailer down a dirt road," Collett said.

Bought by Phoebe in 1998, the program covers 16 counties. This year, about 717,000 miles have been driven to provide services. The program is currently looking into distributing portal devices to patients that can be monitored from a larger database. There are a total of 25 devices, which will first be distributed to heart patients.

In other news, Austin announced that the hospital is preparing to perform renovations to its cardiac floor. Officials and employees plan to close down half of the floor and relocate the patients staying there in the next few weeks.