A hospital where the staff is happy is good for patients, says a new study.
In the study, John Griffith, professor in the University of Michigan School of Public Health examined the attributes of 34 community hospitals in nine states that have earned the Health Care Sector Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a nationally recognized quality benchmark for various industries.
The findings suggest that the single-biggest factor in patient satisfaction is hospital employee morale, which starts with outside-the-box thinking at the very top management levels.
Griffith said that these community hospitals had the happiest patients and caregivers, but only because these hospitals departed radically from traditional hospital management.
For example, at the Florida hospital where patients receive a welcome letter with the CEO's signature and home phone number, they're also paid a visit by their unit's nurse manager, who also leaves cell and office phone numbers.
Griffith said that this personal service doesn''t come cheaply, yet the hospitals kept costs low enough to thrive financially on standard Medicare and insurance payments, despite paying employees "extremely well."
"They reward a good job, both with celebration and financially with cash. One of the interesting things about these places is they don't have any nursing shortages. They have enough nurses, well-trained nurses and well-motivated nurses," he said.