As the chief financial officer of Saint Michael’s Medical Center
in Newark, Marcello Guarneri is used to spending time behind a desk, pouring
over balance sheets and financial statements and meeting with colleagues.
But at least three times a week, he is required to leave the comfort zone
of the hospital’s c-suite and visit with patients staying in the hospital.
The effort is aimed at getting non-clinical hospital leadership onto patient
floors so they can assess all parts of a patient’s hospital stay,
including their medical care, how well their pain is managed, and their
satisfaction with nutrition and food services, environment, housekeeping
and facilities. Effective rounding helps manage patient expectations,
promote quality care, and recognize exceptional caregivers.
“I really enjoy talking to the patients and learning about their
stay,” Guarneri said. “Rounding gives me a completely different
perspective on my job and how I can contribute toward meeting the needs
of our patients.”
All top executives who would not otherwise have a reason to visit patients,
are now “rounding” much the way doctors and other clinical
staff have done for years.
“Too often, executives and managers become isolated in their own
silos,” said CEO Robert Iannaccone, who has already put in numerous
hours talking with patients. “The insight you gain talking to patients
while they are still in the hospital is invaluable. Too often, this kind
of information never makes it to the executive suite. This helps us remember
why we work here in the first place – to serve our patients.”
Leadership rounding is a fundamental practice at all hospitals owned by
Prime Healthcare, which purchased Saint Michael’s out of bankruptcy
in May 2016.
Before making the rounds, executives download an app on their phone known
as Orchid, which allows access to all patients staying in the hospital.
The app was originally developed for nurses, but has been retooled for
managers to ask non-nursing questions or gather feedback on topics such
as hospital food, cleanliness and quietness.
“Positive comments from patients that recognize team members for
outstanding service are forwarded to managers in real-time,” said
Alex Hejnosz, co-founder of
CipherHealth, which developed Orchid. “This feedback increases staff morale and encourages staff to continue
to use best practices.”
Patient satisfaction has become an increasingly important metric in the
healthcare industry and is used by rating agencies such as the Leapfrog
Group, which issues grades to hospitals twice a year.
Prime Healthcare has made patient satisfaction a priority throughout its system of more
than four dozen hospitals across the nation, including
Saint Mary’s Hospital in Passaic and
Saint Clare’s Health in Denville and Dover.
"At Prime Healthcare, our goal is to create a culture of open and
transparent communication that encourages our patients to provide honest
feedback directly to our hospital leadership," said Stephen Meth,
the chief experience officer at Prime Healthcare.
"Engaging our leadership in rounding helps us improve our understanding
of evolving expectations of those that we serve so that we can strengthen
the support structure around our frontline colleagues to make consistently
exceeding these expectations the new norm,” Meth said.