Presque Isle hospital secures patient-based award

Posted Aug. 04, 2011, at 6:36 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An Aroostook County hospital has received national recognition for exceeding patient expectations.

The Aroostook Medical Center, which has a medical staff of more than 60 physicians, garnered the accolade from Avatar International, a company that assists hospitals with measuring and improving the care they provide. Hospital representatives accepted the award late last month at a ceremony in Orlando, Fla.

The hospital employs more than 1,000 people.

The award is based on patients’ responses to surveys they filled out after receiving care from the hospital, TAMC’s physician offices, and Crown Ambulance. The surveys measure patients’ satisfaction level with physician and nursing care, patient safety, pain management, communication, cleanliness and other elements of their care.

Sylvia Getman, president and chief executive officer of TAMC, said the staff is “excited” about receiving the award.

“It’s a reflection of the commitment of so many people in our organization and their desire to keep improving the level of service we provide,” she said. “This award recognizes outstanding service provided by our employees working in several departments of the organization. This award shows that every single interaction our staff has with a patient makes a difference. It’s really a team effort.”

While the hospital is lauding its accomplishment, Getman said employees remain focused on providing the highest level of customer service at all times.

“We are proud of the award, but we recognize that we still have a lot of work to do in order to deliver a level of service consistent with the best hospitals in the country,” said Getman. “We’ve been working hard to understand how we can continue to become even better, including holding focus groups with employees and getting feedback from the community. We’re working together to get to the heart of what’s most important to our patients.”

That work led to recent changes being made at the hospital. Getman said hospital officials thought of ways to make the hospital quieter for the comfort of the patients. Technology has been improved so that the nurse call button system in the hospital unit is quieter and not as loud for patients when they contact a nurse.

Avatar is an international research and consulting group that aims to improve quality and efficiency in health care. Founded in 1981, Avatar works with some of the nation’s largest hospitals and companies in other industries including Disney World, The Ritz Carlton, AT&T and Xerox.

The Aroostook Medical Center is a member of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems.

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