As hospitals across the country continue to experience declining cleanliness scores, one healthcare system in the Midwest is establishing a model to improve perceptions of cleanliness while driving patient satisfaction outcomes related to cleanliness in the hospital environment. Partnering with Compass One Healthcare, Cincinnati-based UC Health is committed to improving the perception of their health system’s cleanliness. They've developed a “Culture of Clean” that extends across the organization and brings all members together in pursuit of this critical objective.
Patients’ new expectations for cleanliness
COVID-19 pushed cleanliness into the spotlight. Protocols implemented to stop the spread—like mask use, more rigorous sanitization processes, and improved air filtration systems—have conditioned patients to be more aware of the cleanliness of their surroundings as well as what constitutes a safe and hygienic healthcare experience.
These rapidly changing perceptions of “clean” present new challenges for hospital leaders. For one, how do they meet and exceed patients’ higher expectations for hospital cleanliness—especially during an ongoing public health crisis?
For UC Health, cleanliness starts at the top
UC Health’s department leaders play an important role in driving this organization-wide “Culture of Clean.” They actively round on patients and include cleanliness observations during rounding. To this end, cleanliness outcomes are directly tied to hospital leaders’ incentive compensation. Additionally, UC Health invested resources into the environmental services department, growing it by 13% and tasking these new associates with cleaning patient rooms, enhancing turndown service, and acting as patient ambassadors focused on high-priority areas.
Leveraging partnership for real-world outcomes
To make sure their efforts to improve perceptions of cleanliness made a real and long-lasting impact, leaders at UC Health partnered with Compass One Healthcare. Together with environmental services (EVS) leaders at Compass One, the health system implemented new rounding technology to track quality of experience insights, launched a pilot “Culture of Clean” program at the unit level to raise awareness and enhance collaboration with nurses, improved leader rounding, provided cleanliness kits to patients (including sanitizer and eye masks), and added additional support staff. As a result, UC Health has increased HCAHPS cleanliness top-box scores from 62.1% in early 2020 to 71% by December 2021. This improvement represents a nearly 50-point improvement in percentile score.
“We needed a true partner to make the changes necessary to reach our goals—one that is decisive and results-oriented,” says Rob Wiehe, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for UC Health. “Compass One’s EVS leadership met those needs. By collaborating with us and executing the plan, we’ve made dramatic progress in making the cleanliness of our hospital a top priority every single day.”
Healthcare leaders must prioritize cleanliness to meet and exceed patients’ expectations and drive patient satisfaction in their environment. Partnering with Compass One Healthcare not only elevated UC Health’s efforts to create a safe and clean environment, but it also drove positive outcomes in patient satisfaction. Read more about Compass One’s transformational work with UC Health here.