For approximately ten years Douglas Preston and Sheri Small have greeted a multitude of patients around Fort Bliss, always welcoming and present to their concerns, which is why the duo of Medical Support Assistants (MSAs) were recently recognized for their continued service to patients with Beaumont Bucks, a monetary incentive, along with other MSAs from William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
The recognition comes in efforts to emphasize the value of superb customer service at WBAMC primary, specialty and ancillary clinics, through the WBAMC Commander's MSA Award, a program designed to promote a patient-friendly environment and improve the patient experience.
In messages to employees, WBAMC's Patient Experience Office encouraged MSAs to provide superior customer service to patients as the "face" of WBAMC and the first impression patients have of an area.
"We need to exceed our patients' expectations for every encounter...every day," read part of the message.
The commander's MSA award depends on individuals receiving a score of 100 percent for question 18 and 19 on the Joint Outpatient Experience Survey (JOES), questions which rates patients' interactions with MSAs.
For Preston, who has been attached to the Soldier Family Care Clinic at Spc. Hugo V. Mendoza Care Center, at Fort Bliss, ensuring patients are happy with their visits comes down to good business ethics.
"We provide a service and they (patients) are our customers," said Preston, a native of San Joaquin Valley, California. "Every provider (at Family Care Clinic) has 1100 patients. A couple of hundred of them you'll never see them, and a couple of hundred are here all the time."
Small attributes the recognition in part to their vigilant efforts to promote JOES, a survey which collects patients', with recent outpatient visits, experiences and care through random mailers.
"We always promote the JOES survey, each and every patient we tell them about getting it in the mail. And, we just provide awesome customer service," added Small, also an MSA at WBAMC's Family Care Clinic. "I feel like we go above and beyond a lot of times."
Both Small and Preston attribute their performance to leaders who instilled good values and work ethics at their clinic.
"Sometimes people come in upset and you just have to realize that they are here for a reason, whether they are sick or need medication, and we should be just trying to help them," said Small, a native of New Britain, Connecticut. "The more you help people, the better perception they'll have of you, and the better they'll feel about the clinic, so just be kind."
Question 18 on the JOES questionnaire is monitored by the Office of the Surgeon General and the expectation is that at least 90 percent of patients rate their interactions as very good or excellent, out of five options rating from poor to excellent. For clinics that get 100 percent for question 18 during months the hospital receives an Integrated Resourcing & Incentive System (IRIS) incentive, which monetizes excellence in patient care, each MSA on the clinic's team will receive Beaumont Bucks.
While there are restrictions as to whom may receive the incentive, employees must not be pending adverse action or subject of disciplinary actions, the award not only demonstrates individual performance but is a reflection of the clinical experience as a whole.
"Encouraging our patients to complete JOES will gain recognition for excellent service provided and highlight opportunities to improve," added the Patient Experience Office.
"Just treat people like you want to be treated, if you're kind to them, they'll be kind to you," said Small. "Patients who come in a lot, I tend to remember their names, so I greet them with names, and they like that, puts a smile on their face even if they are not feeling great."