Quality, Safety, Service – The Core Values to Patient-Centered Care: An Interview with Sentara Leigh Hospital

This is part of our series on what it takes to provide quality patient care according to the winners of the Outstanding Patient Care Award.

The healthcare industry is undergoing massive changes every day. With changing regulations, improved technology, and most importantly a renewed focus on the patient and their experience, healthcare providers are starting to understand what it means to provide quality care in this new environment.

When launching CipherHealth’s Outstanding Patient Care Award, nominees were rated on their ability to showcase how they are advocating for patients and doing everything to provide top-notch care. A consistent trend among the nominees was that strong leadership creates an environment that allows team members to thrive and put their patients at the heart of everything they do.

The following is an interview with Jennifer Kreiser MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, Vice President Patient Care Services Nurse Executive, at Sentara Leigh Hospital. The nurse manager team at Sentara Leigh is one of the winners of the Outstanding Patient Care Award.

When asked to describe what it takes to provide outstanding patient care tirelessly and consistently, Kreiser was quick to bring up the core values of Sentara, “Quality, safety, and service. If we do it right, the patient is going to have a great experience. We have to think of these three things together, because if you encompass what it takes to have a great experience.”

While safety comes first for the team at Sentara Leigh, it is their exceptional service that stands out to any patient. It is best summed up in the hospital-wide hashtags, a simple, yet impactful brand asset for team members to work by – #leighproud and #wearefamileigh. While not all hospitals can insert their values so seamlessly into a tweet, the sentiment behind them is something other providers should strive to replicate.

As Kraiser explained, it is a matter of showing patients, not telling them, that you are dedicated to ensuring they have a positive experience. This means first and foremost, keeping patients safe, but as that value is met, it means taking actions to make sure their needs are met. Whether it is showing patients the real-time service alerts sent through CipherRounds during rounds, or exemplifying the “take don’t tell” culture, team members at Sentara Leigh know better than to pass off a task to another team member.

“If we see that patients are lost, we don’t tell them where to go. We take them. We also have a no pass down. If you walk by and see a call light, you don’t pass by it. If you are able to meet the request, you do it. You cannot leave until you’ve met the expectation or handed the issue off to someone. I think this has changed our culture. We developed care without boundaries – always asking how do we go above and beyond to make an experience special for a patient. Nothing is too much to ask; if we can, let’s do it. What is it makes all our team role models for great service so staff thinks “I should do that!”, said Kreiser.

When asked what advice she has for other leaders around the country, Kreiser echoed the need for strong leadership. She explains that providing exceptional care and service is a top-down approach and leaders need to truly understand what is happening at the bedside to make improvements. “Leaders need to round, they need to know what is going on, and they need to be able to celebrate the successes as they come.”

As far as the future of the industry, Kreiser brought up the important fact that the patient experience isn’t going anywhere. While regulations may change and technology will inevitably evolve, patients will look to hospitals like Sentara Leigh to receive the type of care that not only keeps them safe but also truly puts them at the center of their care.

CipherHealth empowers providers across the care continuum to deliver enhanced patient experiences and communications through a modular, comprehensive patient engagement technology platform.