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MOBILE, Ala. -- Kim Waren has been named supervisor of patient relations for USA Health.
She joined the USA Medical Center staff in April 2016 after working at The Studer Group in Pensacola, Fla.
Her role at USA Health is a natural outgrowth of her Studer Group work, she says, moving from helping healthcare clients improve the patient experience to helping USA Health specifically reach the same goals.
“Essentially, our primary responsibility is to ensure that patients and their families leave the hospital feeling satisfied with the care provided,” Waren says. Providing exceptional patient care is at the center of the mission, vision and values of USA Health.
Patients have many choices about where to receive health care, Waren notes. “We want them to have an overall positive experience and continue to receive their healthcare here.”
Since joining USA, one of her responsibilities has been tracking patient satisfaction data, much of it gleaned through telephone surveys to those recently discharged, then distributing the information to hospital staff.
“The data is a direct reflection of our patients’ perception of care. It’s essential that we pay close attention and use the information as a means for process improvements.” The surveys also help develop education programs for hospital staff so that issues can be prevented in the future.
While she focused on many of the same goals at Studer, her experience at USA Health has been rewarding, she says, because there’s an opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with patients and have a direct impact on their experience.
“At Studer, healthcare facilities were our clients, and we helped them achieve their goals of improving patient satisfaction through the eyes of an outsider’s perspective. It was rare that we had direct interactions with their patients. Here at USA Health, I am able to build a special relationship with patients and use their feedback and praises to motivate staff.”
Little things can make a big difference. For example, it’s important for hospital staff to remember that being in the hospital is often unfamiliar and frightening for many patients.
If all staff members, from Environmental Services to physicians, introduce themselves every time they enter a patient’s room, explain why they are there, what they are going to do and why, and how long they will be in the room, patients and families are better informed and less likely to be distressed.
“Most of the time you can transform a complaint into a positive situation,” Waren says. “If you educate staff, show them the research and an example of how to do it right, they see the reward. Everyone wants to be able to perform the job in the best manner and to work smarter, not harder. Showing them the research and that there’s a more effective approach helps. They see a way to do their job well with less stress.”
“Our staff is open to good ideas,” she says. “We have a team who is very invested in learning. They are committed to finding the best solutions to provide their patients with outstanding care.”
A native of Pace, Florida, Waren now lives in Baldwin County. She and her husband love being on the water — especially kayaking — and she loves fitness activities, reading and helping with the youth group at church.
With more than 3,800 employees, the University of South Alabama health system is unlike any other on the Gulf Coast. It includes an acute care academic medical center, a hospital for children and women, an academic cancer research and treatment center, and an academic physician practice. USA Health has an economic impact of $791 million.
© 2018 USA Health