Service Excellence Recipients:

Megan Gallegos, RN, Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth
Shawn Lewis, RN, Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth

Like a lot of good ideas, the concept of an ER concierge came at the end of a long day. Happily for patients at Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth, the late hour didn’t get in the way of implementation.

“We’d been helping out with a very full department, and when we came back to our office we picked up an earlier conversation about how we can help people find the role that allows them to be successful,” explains Megan Gallegos, director of emergency services.

“Specifically, we were thinking about volunteers, and how we wish we had a staff position to do some of what those people were doing,” she says. “Then we began talking about our unit secretary, and that led to the concierge position.”

“We were moving a full-time employee into a new position, so we had to work out the hours and all the other details, but the idea was that we’d have someone who could ensure that patients got what they needed while they were waiting for treatment, and that our care teams had someone they could connect with to see if there were any issues that needed immediate attention,” adds Shawn Lewis, emergency department manager/clinical coordinator. “Our leadership got behind the idea and told us to do whatever we needed to do in order to enhance patient care and help make both staff and families happy and less stressed. So we got creative.”

The concierge greets every patient and family members at the bedside with warm blankets, and provides a communication card with the provider’s name, as well as time expectations for lab work and other treatments.

She then comes back around at least once an hour to update the patient, as well as drop off beverages, chairs, blankets, food or whatever else might be requested. In addition to providing these and other services that make a difference to scared and nervous patients and their families, she keeps records of these interactions, as well as answering call lights and inputting patient data into Meditech so that triage and order placement can occur much more quickly.

“Whether it’s a cookie, a cup of coffee or a chair, she tracks every single thing,” Gallegos says.

The result has been a sharp uptick in patient satisfaction scores, as well as a sigh of relief from staffers who know they now have someone on tap to help them provide high-quality care as well as some personal attention.

“Since we launched the position in the third quarter of 2015 she’s seen more than 3,000 patients, and our HCAHPS scores around the ER keep going up and up,” Gallegos says. “We had been in the red for satisfaction, and we hit yellow that first quarter, and then moved into green by the fourth quarter. We went from the 16th percentile to above 75, and the staff is as happy with the concierge program as the patients are. It’s been a terrific success.”