Due to the similarities in demographics, I decided to compare hospitals that derive from my hometown and some that are within close proximity. I chose these health centers because not only are the dynamics similar, but I am personally intrigued as I have family members in healthcare who are or have been employed with most of these institutions. Also, I have witnessed numerous people from the Greenville, MS area travel to these neighboring states to seek out healthcare. Seemingly there are obvious trends in the healthcare administration styles and practices in the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana areas that reflect in their percentile scoring. In this paper, I will compare the findings of the following facilities: Baptist Health Medical Center of North Little Rock, AR, Baton Rouge General Medical Center of Baton Rouge, LA, Bolivar Medical Center of Cleveland, MS, Delta Regional Medical Center of Greenville, MS, Helena Regional Medical Center of Helena, AR, and St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital of Jackson, MS. These facilities share many similarities in terms of the given elements to be discussed but the differences that set them apart are perhaps the forces that hinder these places from excelling in their performances. I will explore both the negative and positive features of each healthcare system given the proposed elements while comparing each to their counterparts.
Bolivar Medical Center of Cleveland, MS excelled in patient experience compared to the other institutions. They hold the highest percentages in communication between both doctors and nurses. They also received the highest ratings in their patients receiving care as soon as they wanted, staff explanations of medications, and controlling the pain in patients. Although Bolivar Medical categorically outweighed them, St. Dominic of Jackson holds the highest rankings in areas that seem to be more personable and less technical. They hold the highest rankings in patient satisfaction, upkeep of cleanliness, and in patient recommendations. Those are all pertinent areas that one may view as more important when considering facilities based on a peer review system. Helena Regional of Arkansas holds the highest percentage in cleanliness of patients’ rooms and bathrooms. Baton Rouge Medical holds the highest rankings in staff explanations of medicines and in the number of patients who agreed to understand their treatment/care. They are tied with Baptist Health Medical in percentage of the adequacy in which patients are being given information about their recovery. Delta Regional of MS did not score any of the highest ratings nor did they share a high percentage with a neighboring facility.
Baton Rouge Medical Center holds the lowest percentages of unplanned readmissions while Delta Regional holds the highest at 16.80%. Baptist Health Medical’s readmission rates are highest in both heart attack and heart failure patients. Bolivar Medical’s readmission rates are highest amongst pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. St. Dominic holds the highest readmission rate in stroke patients. Delta Regional Medical Center, who appears to be the facility with perhaps the worst health administration, is surprisingly the hospital with the least amount of patient readmissions for the specified afflictions.
Surprisingly, the overall rate of mortality and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are highest at Bolivar Medical, the center in which I found to be the most functional when only considering the patient experience data. Baton Rouge holds the highest mortality rate in both heart attack and pneumonia patients while Delta Regional holds the lowest rate in heart attack patients. Helena Regional holds the lowest in pneumonia. Heart failure patients hold the highest mortality rates at Baptist Health Center and the lowest at St. Dominic. Rates in acute and ischemic strokes are highest in the Mississippi Delta at Delta Regional. St. Dominic holds the lowest mortality rates overall. Aside from the grim category of mortality, the great thing about these centers is that they all appear to be current in health information technology. Each hospital can receive lab results electronically. However, Helena Regional of Arkansas is the only facility that does not track clinical results between visits.
After closely examining the findings of each category, I realize that cultural factors, organizational structure, leadership, location, and other supporting demographics all play a major role in the data found and aids to the similarities of the findings. The highest percentages of patient satisfaction were found at facilities in the bigger cities of Mississippi and Louisiana which included Jackson, MS and Baton Rouge. This may be due to more available funding and better knowledge of managing financial resources that in turn provides better facilities with better equipment. In addition, I found that the more rural towns shared more disappointing rates in patient experience. Due to the nation’s employment rate decreasing, small, southern towns are usually those that fall victim to poverty. Healthcare administration is more challenging in such areas due to the mission of fulfilling healthcare services while continuing to maintain economical and fiscal responsibilities. One of the most widely recognized problems with health care facilities is that they must provide care to patrons who are on both Medicaid and Medicare. In these areas, the number of people who utilize those resources are plentiful. Reimbursement from governmental sources is stretched becoming far and few. Administration is often faced with finding ways to balance funding and expenses.
Helena Regional (Helena, Arkansas) and Delta Regional (Greenville, Mississippi) lag behind all the facilities scoring in the 60th percentile while the others achieved a rate of at least 70% or more. According to first-hand knowledge of both areas, these areas are poverty-stricken. Governmental funding is perhaps scarce which takes away from the experience of these centers. Because all facilities represented at least 80% in relaying information to their patients about recovery and in communication amongst the doctors and nurses, that reveals that all the facilities practice essential and beneficial communication styles. This may also be partly due to the cultural climate that derives from the south. According to the data, Bolivar Medical Center has seemingly adopted a more functional or cohesive means of managing their hospital as reflected in the highest markings of patient experience. Delta Regional received the lowest percentile markings in each subcategory of patient experience. I believe that there may be several shortcomings due to the leadership and management structure of the facility. Looking at their scores poses several questions, “Is this hospital still striving to fulfill its mission and objectives? Are the leaders utilizing different leadership styles to better align with their structure? Are organizational goals still being met?” Delta Regional’s reign of the lowest readmission rates for the given illnesses may strike as a more positive factor to someone who is not knowledgeable of healthcare administration and its issues. While this may be perceived as something positive, there is also an alternative to that perspective. Readmission rates at this facility could be low because patrons would rather seek care at a different hospital after prior care at the designated one. However, education of health administration points to other factors to consider. Each hospital shows significantly higher percentages of re-admittance in heart failure patients more than any other group. I am led to believe that this may be due to a lack of specialists in the area. Also, it may be harder to build more cohesive continuing care programs which involves a great deal of healthcare community involvement. This may prove to be especially difficult in rural areas where they may be a lack of healthcare officials. Considering the low percentages of patients from each hospital who strongly agree to understand their care, the re-admittance rates may equally be as low due to inadequate knowledge of lifestyle transitions after hospital stays. The specified illnesses on the report all require a special understanding going forward. Patients must be aware of all possible lifestyle changes and how important it is to dedicate themselves to executing them daily. Patrons of these areas may not be aware of health goals and how they must achieve them. There are some components I feel that may be inadequate that aid to the increase of mortality. I suspect that staffing has a major part to play in this section due to the challenges in finding healthcare officials. Perhaps there is not enough staff to equal the number of beds throughout each portion of the day. Another factor that may be contributing to the mortality rates in these organizations may also include pre-existing conditions in conjunction to the diseases reported. For example, according to the most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the ten states with the highest rates of obesity and diabetes type 2 are in the southern states including Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Afflictions such as these often complicate newer illnesses making recovery more difficult.
To increase patient experience at all of these facilities, seemingly small but vastly effective changes must be made. Obviously, more time should be spent educating patients on their conditions, medicine, and after care. They should be given an unrestricted amount of time to spend with their healthcare officials to ask as many questions as possible. The pertinence of knowing about the available resources could make all the difference in a healthy intervention. I also believe that health officials should send diagrams, written literature, etc. home with their patients as references. Also, I firmly believe that improving the patients’ experiences would also involve improving the hospitals’ atmospheres. Delta Regional, Helena Regional, and Bolivar Medical which are all located in rural areas, would see a dramatic increase in satisfaction if they provided more relaxing environments. Some suggestions for these facilities would indeed include setting aside a budget to upgrade décor within the hospital. A nicer environment would perhaps encourage patients to feel a bit better about being hospitalized and provide some comfort they may be missing. Not only would aesthetic upgrades help but technical upgrades as well. Investing in quieter equipment would help patients relax better and keep noise levels to a minimum. Both Delta Regional and Baptist Health ranked low in up kept cleanliness of patients’ rooms. They could improve quality of their hospitals by making cleanliness and housekeeping a targeted goal across departments. Because rates for each illness (heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) shared high percentages across each facility, they could all benefit from revised preventive measures to drive readmission rates down. As discussed previously, admitted patients may have pre-existing conditions coupled with inadequate knowledge of their conditions and treatment. A great way for each of these hospitals to prevent readmission is by cultivating ongoing research of their patient populations. As I reported earlier, these hospitals have not done a good job in educating their patients. Therefore, it would be beneficial to once again stress the importance of post-discharge practices. Finding a way to communicate these things to patients and have them develop an understanding would aid in decreasing the rates. Also, patients would benefit from health officials stressing a scheduled follow-up appointment no less than two weeks after care. This tactic would cut down the risk of being readmitted by providing outpatient care, possibly preventing turnaround illness. Lastly, these facilities would benefit from implementing more effective transitional care units. They could team up with other healthcare professionals such as home healthcare workers and work together to personalize continued care plans. In addition to these plans, it would once again be helpful to involve the patient by acquiring knowledge in their own aftercare. They could administer coaching to teach methods that would help these patients help themselves.
Providing adequate on-duty staff at all times could be an adequate solution in decreasing mortality rates. It goes without saying that having the appropriate amount of help could more aggressively stop tragic events. Also, leadership discussions come to mind. Healthcare administration should be cohesive in implementing tactics that would work simultaneously in decreasing both mortality and readmission rates. These tactics should include goals targeted to improve staffing issues and continuing education in their healthcare officials. One way to ensure the healthcare staff is up to par in their designated fields would be to host mandatory workshops for each department. According to the reports, each of these facilities are already functional in receiving lab results electronically. However, by Helena Regional being the only listed facility that does not track clinical results between visits, my suggestion to their healthcare administration would be to make that a top priority in order to bridge those gaps that exist in patients’ records.
As a Christian, I have always strived to practice humility and to project love and kindness to other people. In my opinion, healthcare is a field in which those, along with other Christian-like morals and factors should be implemented and remain prevalent in every arena of the entity.
Because I believe in the good of humankind, I am a firm believer in working together for a greater cause. Furthermore, I know the world does not work in a simplistic manner. However, I believe the simplest of factors such as communication could make a world of difference in the way we make our daily strides in improving our lives. In my conclusion section, I gave my own suggestions to fix the problems associated with the given categories. One factor I heavily stressed was communication and care. Over time, healthcare has transformed into a multi-billion-dollar service and overly demanding business. Because of such pressures surrounding the field, it is not uncommon to receive treatment from healthcare workers and feel overlooked. Hospitals have become places of “hustle-and-bustle” and often project that feeling onto their patients. That is why I believe healthcare workers and systems should adopt the practice of slowing down the pace and allowing enough room to dismiss politics by giving patients more personable experiences. Although it may take more time and even resources, I believe that if the world were shaped to believe in helping one another by any means necessary, none of those factors would be an issue. I honestly believe that healthcare should not be political at all as the goal should be quite black and white; help those that need it in the ways they need it. I am proud of how far this country has come in technological advancements in healthcare, it saddens me that not everyone can experience it as often or as quickly as they may need to do to the amount of money they have.