By Douglas H Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs
Although April has been designated as ‘Military Children’s Health Month,’ Naval Hospital Bremerton’s (NHB) Pediatric Department continually focuses on the importance of caring for military children.
NHB’s primary care clerks and receptionists were recently recognized for the second consecutive quarter for their outstanding service in helping to improve the health and fitness of military children by the Joint Outpatient Experience Survey (JOES) system.
“It is a very humbling and tremendous honor to receive recognition for two consecutive times. This is a collaborative product of our staff’s hard work, communication and great teamwork. We’re very thankful that our patients are recognizing our team effort in providing quality patient care and an enjoyable experience,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class (Fleet Marine Force) Herico P. Incoy, Pediatric Department Leading Petty Officer.
JOES is the Military Health System’s unified outpatient survey system that combines and standardizes long-standing methods used across all service branches to learn about beneficiary health care experiences with the goal of making them better. Since 2013, the Defense Health Agency and the services have monitored the outpatient experience of beneficiaries, making modifications to provide information on specific areas of outpatient services, in addition to paying attention to trend responses.
This patient satisfaction survey is one way to determine how a patient’s visit went. The survey gives a patient the opportunity to respond to a variety of focus areas such as ‘courtesy and respect,’ ‘overall satisfaction with the visit,’ and ‘able to see provider when needed.’
Pediatric Department understands that caring for a military child isn’t just limited to the actual appointment with the provider. It begins as soon as that person arrives at the command, through the check-in process to being seen by the provider. There are even times the care continues after the visit is over.
“We believe that by providing our patients a comfortable and pain-free experience during their visit helps a lot. We inform them of their wait times as much as possible, and as cliché as it may sound, treat them like family the same way we would want to be treated. That goes a long way,” Incoy said.
Some of the key messages concerning military children’s health include that military children are a vital part of the military family and deserve to be recognized, and investing in the health of military children ensures a strong, future force.
Pediatric Department provides a wide range of outpatient services from routine Well Child checks and physicals to developmental health concerns or same day appointments for acute concerns.
“We’ve also embedded Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology and Pulmonology specialty clinic providers from Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC) to come here which helps accommodate our patient’s needs and alleviate their drive to MAMC,” added Incoy.
The Pediatric Department has 27 staff, consisting of seven providers, four nurses, 13 corpsmen and three support staff. Everyone has improved their patient-care support capability with additional guidance along with mandatory customer service training during command orientation. The staff augments their listening and communicating skills by sharing a customer service ‘tip of the day’ in daily briefings and during the TeamSTEPPS morning huddle by going over strategies and tools to enhance performance and patient safety.
Being recognized back to back as best of the best is no accident. There has been a concentrated effort from all staff members involved. If any patient requests additional information or feedback from their visit, they are contacted in a timely manner. There’s also an inner-departmental encouragement to help customer service and patient-care along.
“One of the things we incorporated in our department is a friendly competition called ICE Babies where we recognize the staff with the most positive ICE comments each month,” explained Incoy.
Samples of the ICE comments include:
“I love Pediatric Department. It’s so quiet and clean when I bring my kids. Staff is polite and efficient as well. They make us feel very welcomed.”
“HN Dodge is awesome! 🙂 Super nice and accommodating! Helpful and patient with my child. Dr. Howard is amazing, very nice and informative.”
“Everything was great. We like Dr. Tran, he is very nice and helpful and knowledgeable. He makes sure everything is in order. Thanks to Dr. Tran for the care.”
Pediatric Department understands the importance of providing patient-centered care before, during and after April as the designated Military Children’s Health Month. They continue to educate and reinforce a healthy lifestyle for military children, and help provide programs and tools to help military families cope with unique challenges such as deployments and transfers.
“Providing outstanding and quality customer service is very important. Receiving positive feedback is always good to have. Being open to constructive feedback to find a resolution will also make a difference to create a better experience for our customer,” stated Incoy.