The University of Rochester Medical Center is one of the nation’s top academic medical centers, acting as the university’s nucleus for health research, teaching, patient care and community outreach. The bedrock of the school’s healthcare delivery network, known in short as UR Medicine, is Strong Memorial Hospital, an 800-bed teaching hospital renowned for its research programs that transform the patient experience with fresh ideas and approaches steeped in disciplined science.
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UR Medicine knows that a positive culture has a major impact on patient care and treatment, not to mention employee engagement. And no one knows it better than Jackie Beckerman, Chief Patient Experience Officer and Director of the Strong Commitment. Jackie knows from industry research and years of experience that there is a direct connection between a positive employee culture and patient satisfaction, so her mission has been to build up the first with the goal of improving the second.
UR Medicine developed an in-house program for patients and employees to congratulate and recognize physicians or staff members for outstanding service or care using physical cards placed throughout the hospital. Called Strong Stars, the program became a big part of the culture and while it was successful at first, it soon became clear that the hospital needed to upgrade to an automated, electronic system to keep up with the growing needs of the program.
That’s when Reward Gateway came into the picture. UR Medicine partnered with the employee engagement company in 2010 with the goal to take the Strong Stars program to the next level. The original intent was to move the Strong Stars program online, but Reward Gateway proved to be much more valuable than just delivering on this need by offering strategic advice on how to properly engage with employees and understand where improvements could be made in the patient experience.
But it was more than consulting that convinced the hospital that they were the ideal partners. For starters, Reward Gateway’s methodology blends well with that used by UR Medicine. Its focus on customer priorities strongly aligns with UR Medicine’s focus on patient-centric care, allowing for a more seamless process.
From there, Reward Gateway’s in-depth understanding of UR Medicine’s unique needs became apparent. The partnership was based on the understanding that it all starts with the ICARE Experience, the Medical Center’s Values. These five values (Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Respect and Excellence) act as the backbone for employee behaviors, which Reward Gateway helped define. These behaviors make the values visible – they help employees understand what it looks like to live the ICARE Experience.
The online Employee Engagement platform (still called Strong Stars) was implemented in 2010 and the difference quickly became apparent. The new user interface opened the door to a faster submission process, one that made it easier for employees to recognize colleagues or patients to thank the faculty and staff.
Reward Gateway played a pivotal role in improving morale and employee wellbeing, which drove hospital employees to provide greater patient care.
From 2008 to 2017, patient satisfaction scores have continually improved for Overall Hospital Rating, Communication with Doctors, and Communication with Nurses. In 2017, the hospital’s scores reached its highest point in nine years. UR Medicine Primary Care received the 2017 Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award, ranking in the 5% for Patient Experience in case compared to similar programs across the U.S.
The number of Strong Stars in the platform is over 20,000, with a roughly 50/50 split between patient and employee submissions. The real difference is not in the total number of submissions, but the quality of them as well.
of employees have received recognition since launch
stories captured and shared since launch of program