October 26, 2012

MRMC strives to provide patient-centered customer service

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Patient-centered care and the goal for excellent customer service go hand-in-hand for registrars in the Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) Outpatient Pavilion (OPP). Patient-centered care has been celebrated throughout the month of October by MRMC and health care organizations around the world.

Columbia resident Frank Cole first visited the OPP due to a physician’s order requiring lab work two to three times per week. Although he and his family were newcomers to the community, he was soon on a first-name basis with the employees who assisted him frequently with registration and drew his blood.

During his initial visit, Cole began to feel faint. Registrar Felicia McClain summoned medical assistance and stayed with him until family members arrived. Cole said her actions and compassion made a lasting impression. “That’s when I knew these people were awesome,” said Cole, who now counts several staff members as friends. “I come to see these ladies and gentlemen more than I visit my doctors. In fact, I come here so often that instead of going to the hospital, it’s like I’m going to visit my friends.”

On the occasions that Cole’s medical condition has required an inpatient stay, staff members have been sure to check on him. If one of the staff members hasn’t seen their friend in a few days, it is not unusual for Cole to receive a phone call checking on his well-being.

Striving for excellent customer service is one way the OPP staff supports the patient-centered care focus that MRMC adopted in 2011 when it began utilizing the Planetree model. Planetree principles are focused on addressing the emotional, spiritual and social needs of patients and families in addition to meeting their health care needs. 

“The department’s overall goal is to register patients within ten minutes of arrival, but whenever possible, our customers are directed to a registrar immediately upon sign-in,” said Outpatient Registration Supervisor Stephanie Morrison. “An expedited registration process is in place to reduce wait time for patients with standing orders.”

According to Morrison, some of the registrars offer personal touches such as soft music and aromatherapy to make their registration areas more inviting. Young visitors are often welcomed with stickers, coloring books and crayons. Regular patients, such as Cole, can also expect to receive a greeting card on their birthday each year.

One of Cole’s visits to the OPP occurred as the staff was being recognized with a five-star award for customer service, but he said he was not surprised to learn what was taking place. “It’s definitely an award they deserve,” he said. “They are all beyond excellent.”

A variety of activities are taking place at MRMC in October to commemorate Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month, including the planting of a London planetree on the front lawn of the medical center.

Columbia resident Frank Cole (center) is pictured

with MRMC employees (l-r) Matt Alsup, Sandra

Yokley, Katharyn Baker, Felicia McClain, Janell

Hollis and Carlene Messick.