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Berini: Thanks for ‘focus on patients and families’

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center President Deborah Berini sent the following email to Medical Center employees on Monday:

Dear Colleagues:

The week of April 26-May 1 is Patient Experience Week, which comes at an opportune time to acknowledge our accomplishments and honor your efforts to ensure safety, quality and the best outcomes.

Long before the outbreak of COVID-19, we were putting hard work into improving patient experience. This included the implementation of the Patient Experience Playbook, a focus on building an intra-professional learning culture by leveraging simulation and working to improve access for patients. Your efforts are getting noticed! Patient experience scores for the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are positively trending towards meeting our goals for the year. I’ve attached the score cards, through April 22, so you can see our progress.

As we continue to adapt to this “new normal,” we can also attribute the improvement in patient perception to your attention to working together, keeping our patients safe and comfortable, finding new ways to bridge the visitation restrictions, and taking time to listen and extend kindness to our patients and colleagues.

I am grateful for the faculty, staff, students and volunteers who are staying focused on patient and family-centered care and adapting to working on campus and off-campus. The handwritten notes Penn State College of Medicine’s medical students have sent to patients and staff are much appreciated. Our therapy dogs’ redeployment using fun photos for meal tray placemats are a bright spot in people’s day. Music therapists are providing additional services in the form of environmental music therapy to accommodate more people and social distancing. Our physicians and nurses are innovating ways to keep patients connected with their families who are not able to visit the hospital. And our patient experience specialists are still rounding with patient carts providing amenities like reading glasses, books and activities.

As I read the comments from our survey from last month, the results of these efforts and so many more, are resulting in patient comments like these:

“In the wake of the coronavirus, I thought how my visit was handled was extremely professional and they took great care to protect everyone. Thank you for all your care and concern.”

“Even during the craziness of all the COVID-19 concerns, the staff was at ease and never made us feel like we should be concerned. We love the staff at clinic!”

“I love Hershey Medical Center and I think they are doing a great job at dealing with this COVID-19.”

Continuing this positive momentum will be top of mind as our department chairs, in partnership with physician and administrative leadership as well as hospital and Medical Group leadership, plan for our clinical recovery and operational restart. This is our chance to work together to continue our focus on patients and families and solidify our position as our community’s health care leader. I am interested in your perspective and encourage you to send me your ideas so we can include them in our process.

We may be in a different place than we thought we would be before COVID-19, but we have an opportunity to be in an even better place because of it. Thank you for your teamwork and contributions that make the Hershey Medical Center a great place to receive care.


Deborah Berini

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