In late 2012 Adeline Herzog Memorial Hospital in Castle Rock, Colorado, was facing a problem with patient satisfaction. The Press-Ganey scores for the third-floor nursing unit—the primary destination (70 percent) for patients admitted through the emergency department—were at the 15th percentile, and the key HCAHPS score for inpatients was well below the Colorado average. Over the past six months Jeri Tinsley, director of medical, surgical, and intensive care services, had made various changes to try to improve the patient satisfaction scores for her 32-bed unit, but the scores seemed stuck at an unacceptably low level.
Tinsley worried that if improvements were not made soon, patients would start “voting with their feet” and take their business to competing hospitals. As a registered nurse, Tinsley's expertise was helping people heal; it was not analyzing data. In particular, she was overwhelmed by the patient comments included in the surveys; she had no idea how to analyze them and could not decide which issues to address first.