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Barnes-Jewish Hospital uses the “voice” of the patient to provide an excellent experience by asking patients and their family members for feedback regarding their visit.

Patient feedback is the hospital’s main source of learning ways to continually improve its interactions with patients, family members and visitors. The hospital also empowers each of its staff members to surpass patient expectations by demonstrating integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence each day—with each interaction. Scores on feedback surveys have increased in several areas. In fact, 10 inpatient units and seven outpatient areas at Barnes-Jewish ranked in the top 25 percent of surveyed hospitals nationwide last year.

“Our top priority is to provide the patient with an excellent experience through our attitudes, interactions and listening,” says Sean Rodriguez, director of patient experience. “We’ve asked our patients how specific words, actions and body language had an impact on their perception of care and we’ve received amazing feedback.”

To hear the “voice” of its patients firsthand, Barnes-Jewish invited several former patients to speak at a leadership institute held for its managers.

How we improved the patient experience

Four areas that have the greatest impact on the overall patient experience are: the values of the staff members, how they communicate and respond to patient needs and the environment of care.


Patient feedback described how certain words and body language can enhance or damage feelings of compassion and respect. The smallest gesture or kind word made a huge difference in the patient experience, whether the patient was about to receive medical treatment or needed valet assistance.

As part of its vision to be national leaders in medicine and the patient experience, Barnes-Jewish Hospital embraces feedback from patients to make continuous improvement.

Frequently checking on patients and family members in the waiting room helped improve the outpatient experience. For example, staff in the hospital’s Pheresis Center update patients so they know when they will be seen and answer any questions the patient or family member may have before the appointment. Follow-up phone calls are made after patient visits for additional feedback regarding treatment and care.

Good communication also requires care givers to ensure patients and their families thoroughly understand care instructions and other vital information.

Patients treated at Barnes-Jewish Hospital have a variety of backgrounds and cultures. If English is not the patient’s first language or if the patient is hearing impaired, hospital staff are able to make the visit more comfortable and convenient by providing a trained medical interpreter.

In 2013, the hospital’s Refugee Health and Interpreters Services bridged more than 17,000 patient/provider communications. The interpreter team provides services in more than 90 languages, including sign language, for patients and providers to bridge communication gaps and ensure quality care.


Results from patient feedback also show patients want quick responses to their needs. How the staff responds is equally important.

To ensure the needs of patients are met on inpatient floors, care teams proactively visit the patient’s room hourly (in addition to delivering medical care) during the day, and every two hours at night to monitor pain medication and to ask about any other needs the patient has. This practice has shown to decrease call-light use and to increase satisfaction.

The cardiac surgery and cardiology team, along with other inpatient floors, are leading the way in consistently meeting the needs of patients before they use their call lights for assistance.

ICARE Values

Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s ICARE values of integrity, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence guide each staff member in their behaviors and responses to deliver consistent experiences across the entire hospital. The simplest gestures of making eye contact and smiling are an important part of expressing the ICARE values.

Environment of care

In addition to delivering excellent care to patients, family members and visitors, each staff member follows processes and procedures to reduce falls and to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.

Part of delivering quality care is monitoring the healing environment. Staff members are sensitive to patient needs for comfort and privacy. Particularly at night, staff work together to adjust noise and light levels so patients have the best environment of care.


“Everyone took time to explain what the steps of the procedures were and always asked if we had any questions.”
“Unbelievable over the top care and compassion!”
“I truly feel your staff saved my mother's life and did so in such a caring loving way.”
“You brightened my year and gave me back a smile I thought was long ago lost.”

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St. Louis, MO 63110
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