CHOC Children’s is the nation’s first pediatric hospital to implement iRounding, a digital survey tool on an iPad that allows staff to identify and respond to CHOC families’ needs in real time. CHOC received the 2014 Ventana Research Award for its pioneering use of this technology.
For years, hospitals have relied on paper surveys mailed home after a visit to assess patient satisfaction. While very important, this survey method also has limits. Paper surveys can only ask questions. But at CHOC, iRounding has started very important conversations.
“We want to know what is important to our patients and families, and iRounding is about so much more than checking boxes,” said Carmen Namenek, manager of CHOC Primary Care Clinic Operations and Community Education. “This portable, HIPAA-compliant tool allows our staff to engage with patients and families, and gather more robust data than we can with traditional survey methods. We may now also get information from populations previously not surveyed, such as adolescents.”
She said families’ top concerns are not always what the staff thinks they are. At one CHOC outpatient clinic, the staff thought waiting time was most important. But iRounding revealed that families would rather wait a little longer in order to see the same provider at each visit.
Automatic, real-time iRounding reports allow CHOC staff to act more quickly to resolve and follow up on opportunities for improvement. Positive comments may also be shared immediately with physicians and staff.
Further, iRounding allows staff to quickly spot trends and modify or add questions if the survey focus changes. And as issues are resolved, spot checks may be conducted with families to make sure the new changes are working. CHOC staff found iRounding an invaluable tool to assess family perceptions during recent changes to hospital parking and laboratory registration procedures.
“Eliminating the costly, time-consuming manual process of collecting data has freed our staff to do more of what they do best,” Namenek said.
Leading the Nation
Implemented in 2013 in part by a grant from Tustin Toyota, iRounding is now taking place at all CHOC locations, including CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital. CHOC has expanded the web-based application to some private practices in the community.
“It’s an opportunity to share best practices with each other,” Namenek said. “We realize families may be seeing community physicians as well as specialists at CHOC, and the experience at all locations is important.”
Dr. Mark Colon, who practices at the CHOC Children’s Clinic, Santa Ana, at the Boys & Girls Club, quickly saw the benefits of real-time results.
“The thing I love about iRounding is that I don’t have to wait up to three months for the NRC Picker results,” Dr. Colon said. “If there is a negative comment or issue, my staff and I will see it right away, and address it right then and there. We can clear up any kind of misunderstanding before the family leaves the office.”
CHOC continues to participate with The Advisory Board Company, a national organization dedicated to sharing best practices and further leveraging iRounding technology within the pediatric healthcare setting. While CHOC was the very first pediatric organization to utilize iRounding, several pediatric hospitals have since followed suit.
“For many of them, CHOC was a big influence in the decision to use this product,” Namenek said. “They are looking to us as the leaders.”