Creating a Patient Complaint Capture and Resolution Process to Incorporate Best Practices for Patient-Centered Representation. Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety / Joint Commission Resources Levin, C. M., Hopkins, J. 2014; 40 (11): 484-412


A growing body of evidence suggests that patient (including family) feedback can provide compelling opportunities for developing risk management and quality improvement strategies, as well as improving customer satisfaction. The Patient Representative Department (PRD) at Stanford Health Care (SHC) (Stanford, California) created a streamlined patient complaint capture and resolution process to improve the capture of patient complaints and grievances from multiple parts of the organization and manage them in a centralized database.In March 2008 the PRD rolled out a data management system for tracking patient complaints and generating reports to SHC leadership, and SHC needed to modify and address its data input procedures. A reevaluation of the overall work flow showed it to be complex, with over-lapping and redundant steps, and to lack standard processes and actions. Best-practice changes were implemented: (1) leadership engagement, (2) increased capture of complaints, (3) centralized data and reporting, (4) improved average response times to patient grievances and complaints, and (5) improved service recovery. Standard work flows were created for each category of complaint linked to specific actions.Complaints captured increased from 20 to 270 per month. Links to a specific physician rose from 16%-36% to more than 80%. In addition, 68% of high-complaint physicians improved. With improved work flows, responses to patients expressing concerns met a requirement of less than seven days.Standardized work flows for managing complaints and grievances, centralized data management and clear leadership accountability can improve responsiveness to patients, capture incidents more consistently, and meet regulatory and accreditation requirements.

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