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Ensuring an Optimal Patient Experience at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center in the age of COVID-19

  • Category: COVID-19
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Ensuring an Optimal Patient Experience at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center in the age of COVID-19

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Even before COVID-19 became a constant in our lives, healthcare organizations such as Salinas Valley Health were becoming laser-focused on the patient experience. That dedication is proving to be quite beneficial for patients in these trying times. As Lisa Paulo RN, Chief Administrative Officer/Patient Experience explains, the patient experience is not simply about making the patient happy.

“Really, patient experience is about creating an environment in which our patients feel respected and valued as an individual, so that we can create a healthy environment for them to heal,” says Lisa Paulo, RN.

Patient experience is a concern throughout healthcare organizations. “Everyone has a role in patient experience,” notes Paulo. In order to facilitate the adoption of patient experience improvements, an organization like Salinas Valley Health will have a dedicated group to visit with patients who are in the hospital.

To listen to an interview on this topic with Lisa Paulo, a registered nurse at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center, click here.

“We have a team of individuals that will go and do what we call welcome rounds. They introduce themselves and address any questions that the patient might have,” explains Paulo. This team will address specific concerns their patients express.

“We also look at how we improve the environment. Looking at things as simple as the wheels on carts or the clacking sounds that happen on some of the carts when we open and close them,” adds Paulo. No detail is too small for the patient experience team to examine and address.

Meeting the particular needs of a healthcare organization’s general population is of the utmost importance. “All of our individuals that do rounds with patients, they are all bilingual. That is a critical part of our program,” shares Paulo. “We also have, as an organization, resources available to support conversations for individuals like myself who aren’t bilingual.”

Paulo explains that technology also helps bridge the bilingual gap. “I have access to translation services on my phone. The awesome thing about that, is that’s an example of something that the Patient Experience Steering Committee identified as a missing piece.” The Patient Experience team saw the need for a technological solution and brought it to the leadership team, who made the translation app available.

Keeping focused on the patient experience during a pandemic

The visitor restrictions that have been put in place at Salinas Valley Health Medical Center during the COVID-19 pandemic are one of the difficulties facing patients at the moment. “It is very rare that visitors are allowed into the hospital right now. And so, you have a lot of patients who are going through surgery or they’ve come through the emergency department, they’re maybe going to surgery or they’re being admitted, and their family members aren’t able to come,” says Paulo.

To bridge the gap, Salinas Valley Health Medical Center has invested in iPads to connect patients with their families via video chat. According to Paulo so far the feedback has been “just phenomenal!”

Paulo also stresses Salinas Valley Health Medical Center is here for the entire community and asks people to not delay getting emergency care.

“We know that individuals are afraid to come to the hospital. We’ve had patients and community members say that to us. They’re putting off visiting their doctor’s offices or putting off coming into the emergency department or being seen, because they’re concerned of contracting the virus. The reality is our hospital is a very safe environment,” says Paulo.

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