The Clinical Current

Harnessing the power of the simple whiteboard: A shout-out to Sentara Bayside Hospital

Last month, we highlighted a recent study led by Dr. Niraj Sehgal from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) which provided some practical advice on how to leverage the humble whiteboard to improve communication with patients and their families. We're pleased to share that this highlight was one of the most forwarded stories we have written in a while and we are incredibly thrilled to share this success story of one of our members, Sentara Bayside Hospital. 

Rather than paraphrasing the story, we wanted to share a message from Jennifer Kreiser, who was generous enough to share the whiteboard for our membership's benefit along with her organization's results.

"I wanted to share Sentara Bayside Hospital's whiteboards with the Clinical Advisory Board and share our success in improving the communication with patients and the effects it is having on our customer service scores. In October 2009, our ACE team (All Committed to Excellence) developed whiteboards for every patient room (see below for the actual whiteboard). The boards are 24x36 which seemed large, but we actually had the auxiliary members get involved and tell us what size the boards should to be, where they should be hung in the rooms, and what information would be most important to them. Our patients' families, nurses, and physicians all write on the board. Nurses and family members use the question/concerns section to write questions they want answered from the physician when he/she rounds or to communicate to other departments. Physicians may write who is the covering MD for the weekend. Even the dietary department writes their name as part of the care team.

Patients like having the nurse and care partner names available as well as the physician's name posted. They stay informed about the plan of care since it is written on the board daily. The nurses use the patient excellence section to communicate what makes the patient feel more comfortable like, "keep my feet uncovered" or "keep my door closed". This has allowed the patient to see that we all care about his/her needs and comfort wishes. We have seen a 17% increase in our Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems(HCAHPS) rate the hospital score and recently achieved top 75% in HCAHPS nurse communication scores. The implementation of our communication boards is definitely making a difference in the scores.  Hope this information is useful. I would be happy to discuss."

For those of you interested in connecting with Jennifer about this idea, please free to reach out to her.  Her contact information is provided below:

Jennifer Kreiser RN, BSN, MSM
Director Inpatient Nursing/Customer Experience
Sentara Bayside Hospital

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