What’s in a grade?

Published 12:32 pm Tuesday, November 16, 2021

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Healthcare Umbrella

By Michelle Fortune

 A relatively new trend in healthcare that has become the bellwether of health management is achieving the highest patient outcomes at lower costs to maximize the value of service to the patient. Thus, patient outcomes and patient experience have become the most accurate measure of value‐based care. Bringing quality, cost-effective care to patients is the goal of all the leading healthcare organizations. As we near Thanksgiving, I began to consider how important it is for healthcare organizations to hear both their patient’s thanks and feedback on opportunities that spur change. 

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“When patient outcomes are improved, value is created. However, value-based healthcare is not just the result of good doctors, excellent nurses, great technicians, or outstanding management. It is truly a case of hard work, attention to every detail, and integrated teamwork,” said Stephanie Postol, MBA, BSN, RN, Quality Director and Safety Officer at St. Luke’s.


The hospital is not a place most people are excited to visit! But it is our job to make any necessary experience you have with us safe and effective. So how do we do that for our patients? “It’s about patient respect, being service-oriented, engaging them in their care, and making their stay at St. Luke’s as comfortable as possible,” according to Stephanie. After all, patients ARE paying customers, and expecting an exemplary service for care is not unreasonable. 


We’ve all seen beautifully designed hospitals that look more like corporate office buildings. Many have valet parking, a 5-Star cafeteria, and the latest flat-screen TVs. But all those whistles and bells don’t matter much if they miss the mark on service. Conversely, an older facility that lacks some amenities but has a team of caregivers who go out of their way to care for patients and comfort the families may not have creature comforts, still, they hit the mark on compassionate service. Having a top-of-line campus may bring a temporary boost to the organization’s experience numbers, but long term, the level of patient care matters most. 




St. Luke’s Hospital falls into the second category. Our current facility is now fifty years old, but we do have flat-screen TVs! Our staff works very hard at keeping the floors shiny, the rooms spotless, and our patients and their families in excellent care. Healthgrades recently notified us that we earned the “Outstanding Patient Experience Award,” with a score that is 16% higher than the national average. What’s more, St. Luke’s is the highest-rated hospital for Patient Experience in our region; higher than AdventHealth, Pardee, Mission, Spartanburg Regional, Transylvania Regional, Rutherford Regional, and more. That’s quite an accomplishment for a small rural independent hospital, and we are proud of these results!


St. Luke’s Hospital 86%

AdventHealth Hendersonville 83%

Spartanburg Regional 78%

Pardee Hospital 76%

Transylvania Regional 75%

Mission Hospital 71%

Rutherford Regional 45%


(Source: Healthgrades.com)


Stephanie said, “we intentionally focus on our patients and their families.” She continued by saying, “we consistently challenge ourselves by setting ambitious goals designed to attain excellent patient outcomes.” Our staff, doctors, nurses, nutrition, environmental, engineering teams, and supporting teammates all take pride in the quality of our hospital. From surgery to building maintenance, St. Luke’s has worked very hard, with limited resources, to become the hospital that we are today. 


So, we invite you to continue to give us your feedback. It truly matters to us! Your report of a positive experience allows us to honor the team members and providers involved, while any concerns you report will enable us to improve! Both are appreciated!


“Our mantra is Working Harder to Keep You Healthier. And if we find that something’s not working, we remove the barriers that prevent improvement and become better for it. As a result, AND because of all of our hard-working team, we ARE a better hospital.” said Stephanie. We’re not just better; we are the best. You, our patients, have said so! 


If you have a healthcare topic of interest, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or visit StLukesNC.org to learn about top-rated St. Luke’s Hospital and our new world-class services.