Patient care has evolved considerably since SwedishAmerican was established. Formal efforts to ensure the very best patient experience date back to the organization’s earliest days, when visitors were instructed to “walk quietly, speak in low tones and avoid laughter.” During the 1980s SwedishAmerican offered inpatients uncommon amenities such as a special room for visiting their pets. Likewise, their families were able to take advantage of special low-cost hotel rooms, so that they could be closer to their loved ones. Today, SwedishAmerican continues to focus on creating patient experiences that exceed expectations.
Perhaps the best example of this is the commitment of SwedishAmerican senior leadership to patient rounding. By adhering to a regular and consistent schedule of visits with hospital patients, the health system’s leaders take a formal approach to ensuring that patients are treated with courtesy and respect, that their wants and needs are understood and that any concerns they have are addressed in a timely fashion.
Just as rounding reflects a commitment to service excellence at the highest level, respect for people has become deeply ingrained in SwedishAmerican’s culture and is a top priority throughout the health system. In patient care areas, all employees are instructed to investigate call lights and make sure that patients have the help they need as soon as possible.
Transforming the patient experience also extends beyond the healthcare setting and involves efforts to make patient interactions with our organization more seamless and convenient. In 2011 the health system began providing customers with the ability to pay their hospital and or clinic bills online. This value-added service provided those who prefer doing things on the Web with a simple and secure means of doing so. Realizing that patients can’t always connect with our business office to pay on their accounts during regular business hours, the new service provided another option.
In 2012 SwedishAmerican launched a new Web-based patient portal called MySwedes Chart, offering patients direct, online access to portions of their clinic and hospital medical records. Following an employee pilot in August, the new service was officially launched to the public in October. Through the portal, patients can access information regarding medical diagnoses and conditions, allergies, office visit summaries and lab results. They can request prescription refills, request appointments and securely communicate with their providers.