Health Professionals at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Ctr.  

August 19: Physician Communication

Laura Anning  

Banner Good Samaritan continues to lead the system in our Physician Communication scores based on the HCAHPS survey with 87 percent of our patients in June saying that our physicians always explain things in a way they could understand, treated them with courtesy and respect and listened carefully to them.

In our journey to become a nationally recognized teaching hospital in an academic medical center, we must continue to focus on ensuring a highly reliable patient experience and highly reliable outstanding  physician communication is, of course, a key element to our success.

Recently, Laura Anning, our director for Service Excellence, shadowed one of our outstanding hospitalists, Dr. Sarah Carstens, as she rounded with her patients. Below is a glimpse of those interactions. With physicians like Dr. Carstens on our staff, our future at Banner Good Samaritan is indeed bright. Thank you to all of our physicians who not only work together in teams to provide highly reliable and safe clinical care to our patients but focus on taking the time to communicate the right information in the right manner every time to every patient …

Steve Narang, MD, is the chief executive officer at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.


Observations from Rounding
By Laura Anning, director for Service Excellence

Dr. Carstens,

Thank you for allowing me to shadow you this morning. It was a great learning opportunity!

As we discussed, I thought you provided an exceptional patient experience during the interactions I observed. Below are a few examples of behaviors that stood out.

During this hospital stay, how often did doctors explain things in a way you could understand?

  • You asked every patient if they had any additional questions or concerns before leaving the room.
  • Your interactions never felt rushed.
  • You provided information at a level that all your patients could understand. For example, during your interaction with thesecond patient you talked about “the top number of your blood pressure” vs. systolic and explained a1c to the fourth patient.
  • You leveraged the “teach back method” and asked the first patient to explain why he was on coumadin. This validated his understanding.
  • All your patients received a thorough explanation regarding next steps. You utilized language such as “what’s happening is...” “What we expect is…” “This is important because…”

Dr. Carstens imageDuring this hospital stay how often did doctors treat you with courtesy and respect?

  • Your interactions were cordial, i.e. eye contact, acknowledging everyone in the room.
  • You sat down next to your first patient (note -patients overestimate your time spent when seated).
  • It appeared you anticipated the patients' concerns.
  • You let the patient know you were entering the room.
  • Your ability to demonstrate empathy was fantastic and extremely important, i.e. the fourth patient was not getting any sleep and the sixth patient was unable to speak.
  • You utilized humor where appropriate, i.e. recommending the fourth patient-cut back on McDonald's.
  • You successfully navigated away from getting into a political discussion with the fifth patient.

During this hospital stay, how often did the doctor listen carefully to you?

  • You paid close attention and didn’t ever appear distracted while talking with patients.
  • Your occasional nods, facial expressions, posture and small verbal comments (yes, uh huh) encouraged patients to continue speaking.
  • Patients were never interrupted.
  • Your responses to the patients' questions were candid, open and honest.
  • Listened and respected your patients' wishes, i.e. not wanting prozac or a feeding tube.

I only have positive feedback to pass along. The only recommendation you might consider is providing patients and families with your business card with picture.

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center
1111 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 839-2000
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