Patients and families know quality care when they experience it. A nurse’s response time, a doctor’s bedside manner, the hospital’s atmosphere—all of these things affect how people feel about the quality of their healthcare.

At Southwest Health System, we believe in constantly improving both the quality of care we provide and the service we offer. One of the ways we do that is by measuring ourselves, so we can find out how we’re doing compared to other, similar institutions. In addition, we are advocates and participate in initiatives to improve the quality and safety of patient care, in collaboration with leading quality organizations such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the National Quality Forum (NQF), and The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals.

What do we mean by quality?
“Quality” in patient care means something very specific: it refers to clinical outcomes. So when we talk about improving quality at Southwest Health System, what we’re really talking about are the things we do that make a medical difference in the lives of our patients. That can range from new treatments, procedures, or medications, to making continuous improvements in procedures and processes so we can always be as safe as possible.

What do we mean by service?
“Service” in hospitals means something different from quality: it’s about all the little things we do to make your experience with us a good one. That can range from how we communicate with you, to how quickly we respond to your concerns, to the kinds of amenities you find in your room.

What can you do?
Patients and their families can play an active role in keeping patients as safe as possible in the hospital. We encourage you to be an active participant in your care; if you feel something is wrong, speak up! It’s our job to keep you safe, but you can play an important role too.

  • Ask questions if you have doubts or concerns, and make sure you understand the answers.
  • Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery. Tell the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and nurses about any allergies, bad reaction to anesthesia, and any medications you are taking.
  • Before you go in for a procedure, ask to make sure the staff has the right information about you and the procedure you are having done.
  • Report anything unusual to your doctor, such as any changes in your condition.
  • Please speak up if you feel that something is not as it should be. We want your input.
  • When you are in a hospital or visiting someone in a hospital, be sure to check with the nurse to find out what kinds of precautions should be taken before getting out of bed.
  • Let your nurse or doctor know if you are concerned about falling. When patients are sick or recovering from an illness, it can be challenging to know just how much one can safely do. Check with your caregivers for help if you are unsure.