Data and Improvement at Southcentral Foundation

This is the fourth in a series of articles about the 2017 Nuka System of Care Conference.

Quality improvement is a core component of any effective health care organization. Health care providers are continually looking for ways to ensure that services are provided efficiently and in a way that meets patient needs. Accurate data is critically important to improvement efforts, but just as important as the data itself is the way it is used.

Southcentral Foundation is constantly striving to improve its services to better meet customer-owner needs and uses the voice of the customer to drive improvement processes. There are three main tools SCF uses to collect feedback data. The first is a customer satisfaction survey that uses tablets to collect regular, daily customer experience and satisfaction data which is used to benchmark and make immediate improvements. These surveys consist of 12 questions which are tailored to departments, and results are tied to care teams. Results are quickly actionable and confidential. The second tool is an employee satisfaction survey which gathers employee satisfaction data to improve work processes and promote happiness in the workplace. This helps support employee performance and links to customer satisfaction data since approximately 55 percent of SCF employees are Alaska Native/American Indian customer-owners who use the system. The third tool is a trend-reporting database that is used for non-quantitative data.

Once data has been collected, SCF incorporates it into the strategic planning cycle in the second quarter of the fiscal year. Organizational opportunities for improvement described in customer-owner feedback are addressed in corporate initiatives. SCF maintains a Customer Experience Committee which assists in implementation of customer experience improvement strategies, and all SCF divisions are represented on this committee. SCF also maintains the Organizational Development department, which is charged with assisting improvement efforts in all of SCF’s divisions. In addition, SCF lists improvement and innovation as a core competency in all job descriptions, and SCF emphasizes improvement in many other ways, including an improvement presentation in new hire orientation, offering quality management courses with improvement tools included and an annual employee re-orientation with a section on improvement. This continuous focus on improvement has resulted in 96 percent of customer-owners being satisfied with the care provided by SCF, and SCF has also achieved 95 percent employee satisfaction.

SCF’s experience shows that a strong focus on customer feedback, combined with a system-wide focus on continuous improvement, can result in high levels of customer satisfaction. SCF can provide valuable guidance to any organization looking for ways to improve its systems and provide better services to its customers.

Check out the on-demand webinar on Understanding Baldrige Criteria for Performance  for more information on how SCF implements customer-driven improvement.