Providing extraordinary care occurs in six basic action areas: clinical excellence, service excellence, physician engagement, operational effectiveness, employee engagement, and community stewardship. These are Intermountain's Dimensions of Care.
Clinical excellence. Clinical excellence is the basis of our mission. The framework for the quality care we provide is our clinical programs. These programs adopt nationally recognized, evidence-based care processes, which are implemented throughout the system. This system-wide focus sets us apart from other local and national health systems, because it's unusual in healthcare for an organization with the size and scope of Intermountain to adopt and measure best practice standards. But we've found that as we do, we raise the level of care—and in healthcare, higher quality usually brings the important ancillary benefit of lower costs (because when care is delivered effectively, complications and readmissions are minimized).
Service excellence. Patients often evaluate clinical excellence based on their personal experience of care: the caring, compassion, and attentiveness they receive from their caregivers. So, while clinical excellence will always remain our first priority, we'll also always keep working to improve and enhance the service aspects of care.
The 2009 Press Ganey Associates HCAHPS Performance Report found the top drivers of patient satisfaction were:
- How well staff worked together.
- Staff's effort to include patients in decisions about their treatment.
- Clear and complete explanations.
- How well staff addresses emotional needs.
- Response to concerns/complaints.
- Friendliness and courtesy of the nurses.
- Staff concern for patient privacy.
- Courtesy of staff starting patient IV.
- Instructions provided for patient care at home.
- Nurses treat patients with courtesy and respect.
- Courtesy of person admitting patients.
- Friendliness and courtesy of physician.
- Whether pain is well controlled.
- Physician concern for patient's questions/worries.
- Speed of admission.
The report examined the experiences of nearly three million patients treated at more than 2,000 hospitals nationwide in 2008. The data is a comprehensive indicator of the perceived quality of hospital care, demonstrating a six-year trend toward higher patient satisfaction with inpatient hospitals.
Physician engagement. Physicians are obviously extremely influential in both the quality of the care provided and in the patient's perception of the care experience. More than 3,700 independent physicians have practice privileges at Intermountain hospitals and are often referred to as "affiliated" physicians. Most of these physicians also participate on the panels of SelectHealth. In addition, approximately 675 physicians are employed by Intermountain or have a contract to provide services in some capacity; of the 675, about 550 are employed as part of the Intermountain Medical Group (2009). Intermountain is committed to maintaining positive, mutually supportive relationships with physicians. We do this by working together to improve clinical quality and provide evidence-based best care, by providing an efficient and pleasant clinical environment, and by providing competitive, market-based compensation for those who are employed.
Operational effectiveness. Healthcare costs are high—and climbing higher—in Utah, nationally, and internationally. Intermountain's mission and policies challenge us to provide healthcare services at the lowest cost possible. As we've worked toward that goal, we've seen our average list prices, or the charges for care before any discounts are provided to insurance companies or to uninsured people, fall below those of nearly all local and national health systems. We keep prices affordable through prudent management, wise purchasing and contracting, investing in information technology that increases operational and clinical efficiency, and in system-wide policies that enhance our operational success.
Employee engagement. At Intermountain, we believe that all our employees have a role in helping our patients heal. Whether they're nurses or patient account representatives, at the bedside or behind the scenes, each of our employees is important to us and our mission.
Community stewardship. Intermountain's responsibility to the communities we serve stems from our legacy. Trustees, senior leadership, and employees of Intermountain are stewards of that legacy. Times may change, but our calling does not: We provide needed medical care, regardless of people's ability to pay. We support community clinics that help the disadvantaged and under-served access affordable healthcare. We provide funding and resources for medical education and research, and we are actively involved in community wellness and prevention projects.