Overall Patient Experience

Watauga Medical Center Among Top 10% Nationally for Patient Experience for the 4th Year in a Row

– HealthGrades Study: 80% of Patients Treated at Best-Performing Hospitals Would Definitely Recommend Them to Friends, Family –

For the fourth straight year, Watauga Medical Center has received the Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ from HealthGrades. This distinction ranks Watauga Medical Center among the top 10% of hospitals nationwide based on an analysis of patient satisfaction data for 3,797 U.S. hospitals.  In addition to the Overall Patient Experience Award, HealthGrades also named Watauga Medical Center among the top 5% in the U.S. for Overall Pulmonary Services in 2012.

“This is something for the community, the patients and the staff to be very proud of,” said Richard Sparks, President & CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, “Earning positive feedback from our patients is one of the highest honors.”

HealthGrades analyzed HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) hospital survey data obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and identified those hospitals performing in the top 10% in the nation for patient satisfaction, based on survey responses from patients treated at those facilities. Hospitals had to meet bed size, survey-response size, and clinical-quality thresholds in order to be eligible for the award.

When making healthcare decisions, patients consider not only the outcome of a procedure or treatment, but the kind of experience they can expect to have at a hospital. A recent McKinsey & Co. study found that 20% of a patient’s choice is based on a hospital’s clinical reputation and 41% of patients consider patient experience measures to be an important factor in choosing a hospital. This is in sharp contrast to the conventional wisdom that such considerations are much less important.

According to HealthGrades, 80% of patients treated at the nation’s best-performing hospitals would definitely recommend the hospital compared to only 55% of patients who received care from the poorest-performing hospitals.

The more information consumers have about the health care choices available to them, the more confident they can be in selecting the best medical care for themselves and their loved ones. The Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ is a distinction generated by patients for patients.  Information on award recipients and the ratings methodology is available, free to the public, at www.healthgrades.com.

“It’s clear that patients are driving higher quality in our nation’s hospitals,” said Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades Vice President of clinical quality programs. “Hospitals like Watauga Medical Center take HCAHPS survey results very seriously and invest time and resources to ensure each patient’s experience is the best possible. This is yet another example of how transparency in health care drives quality.”

When compared to hospitals performing in the bottom 10% for patient satisfaction, HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ recipient hospitals are attributed with the following:

  • 45% more patients gave the hospital an overall rating of a 9 or a 10 (10 being the highest possible)
  • 34% more patients responded that they always received help from staff quickly
  • 24% more patients reported that the staff always explained their medications to them prior to administering them
  • 19% more patients felt their pain was always well controlled
  • 45% more patients reported that they would definitely recommend the hospital to their family or friends.

About Watauga Medical Center

Watauga Medical Center, part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System,  is fully accredited by the Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and licensed as a 117-bed regional referral medical complex, offering both primary and secondary acute and specialty care. In addition to the main hospital, the campus of the medical center includes The Cardiology Center of ARHS, The Sleep Center of ARHS and the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, offering both radiation and chemotherapy on an outpatient basis. The Cancer Center is recognized as an approved Community Cancer Care Center by the American College of Surgeon’s Committee on Cancer.

Other units are: The Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center, The Rehabilitation Center, The Wound Care Center,  ARHS Home Health, which provides a full range of home care services, Appalachian Regional Pain Clinic, and a branch of the Northwest Area Health Education Center.

Watauga Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center.

About HealthGrades

HealthGrades is America’s most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality outcomes. HealthGrades online properties are the nation’s leading destination for physician search and empower more than 200 million consumers annually to make informed health care decisions.

Editor’s note: A full copy of HealthGrades Patient Experience report is available at www.healthgrades.com