In 2017 William Beaumont Army Medical Center provided medical services to over 25,000 Soldiers, more than 28,000 family members and served another 13,000 retirees and their families. The 108-bed facility encompasses five primary care clinics throughout the El Paso, Texas community and has an average of more than 3,700 outpatient visits a day.
To help oversee the quality of outpatient services at WBAMC, the Military Health System rolled out a single survey for all military treatment facilities across all services, called the Joint Outpatient Experience Survey (JOES), in 2016. The survey welcomes patients at DoD Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) the opportunity to voice outpatient experiences to compare and standardize beneficiary visits for superior care.
"We want our patients to take the time to provide us feedback by completing JOES; their feedback can help us improve our services," said Kristal Pinkney, Chief of Patient Experience, WBAMC. "Also, if our patients are satisfied with the care they are receiving at WBAMC it directly impacts our patient satisfaction score and is linked to additional funding that can support WBAMC. This additional funding can help us improve the patient experience enabling WBAMC to purchase additional resources."
WBAMC receives additional funding from outpatient surveys when beneficiaries answer JOES' overall patient satisfaction question, question 23, that they agree their health care visit was satisfactory.
Not only do surveys provide beneficial patient feedback directly impacting patient-care, incentives provide an avenue for the introduction of new initiatives such as WBAMC's Maternal-Child Health Services' Safe Sleep Initiative which provides innovative swaddle blankets proven to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to families delivering at WBAMC. Proceeds also go toward increased amenities such as the mobile device charging stations, infrastructure improvements, and increases in medical resources, equipment and even staff.
"The feedback from JOES helps us identify areas where we can improve the services we provide our patients," said Pinkney. "The survey asks questions about patients' level of satisfaction in many areas to include making an appointment, how they were treated and the actual care they receive from their provider. JOES also provides feedback to primary care managers which can be beneficial to the level of care they provide."
About 72 hours after an appointment, patients selected will receive a survey to complete and should respond within a month by mail or electronically. The survey takes five minutes to complete and will give health providers and leaders the feedback necessary to improve patient experiences. Beneficiaries can expect their ratings and comments to be taken seriously and kept confidential.
Currently, approximately 6,500 patients returned their survey out of 94,000 eligible beneficiaries, a 7 percent return rate, reducing potential benefits to enhance patient care. The WBAMC Commander awards clinics/services with the top ratings from JOES each quarter in the following areas: primary care clinic, specialty care clinic, primary care clerks and receptionists, specialty care clerks and receptionists, and ancillary service. Additionally, individual providers who receive top ratings from JOES feedback are acknowledged during the WBAMC Annual Medical Conference.
"Patients should expect patient friendly access to high quality healthcare that exceeds their expectations for every encounter...every day," said Pinkney. "If patients encounter any concerns during their visit, patient advocates are available to assist them and can be reached at 915-742-2692."