Tue, August 28, 2007
St. Joe's and LHSC were first and second in the province for patient satisfaction.
By RANDY RICHMOND, SUN MEDIA
London's hospitals have landed a satisfying one-two punch in patient care.
The city's two hospitals finished first and second in overall patient satisfaction when compared to Ontario's other 10 large, acute-care hospitals, according to an annual report card from the province.
St. Joseph's Health Care London earned the highest mark for the second year in a row. London Health Sciences Centre scored second.
"I think it is quite remarkable St. Joseph's should come out on top again and the next hospital to score highest was London Health Sciences," said Cliff Nordal, president of both hospitals.
"It is an acknowledgement of the staff and the physicians and their dedication to the patients we serve."
The two hospitals scored the highest marks in the overall impression patients had of their hospital experience.
St. Joseph's also scored highest marks in three other areas evaluating patient satisfaction: how well staff communicated with them; whether they were treated with dignity; whether they received the care they felt they needed.
The 2007 report on acute care hospitals in Ontario, prepared by the province and Ontario Hospital Association, examined 40 indicators including patient satisfaction, clinical outcomes, quality control and financial performance.
The comparisons suggest some areas for improvement in London, Nordal said.
For example, LHSC scored low in financial performance.
But the report card covered a period when LHSC was struggling with several financial issues, such as its debt for a controversial energy-from-waste plant, Nordal said.
"There was nothing (in the report) that surprised us," Nordal said.
In February, the province gave LHSC about $64 million to ease its financial woes.
"We expect next year things will show improvement," Nordal said.
Under the clinical outcomes category, the two London hospitals scored at or above average compared to the other large teaching hospitals.
But the report also shows LHSC has a "slightly higher rate" of pneumonia and bedsores in patients after they are admitted.
"This would be an area the hospital would like to target," Nordal said.
Twenty-six out of more than 1,500 patients got pneumonia or bedsores after being admitted, Nordal said.
"When we see something where we aren't performing as well as others, we want to ask, 'Why would that happen and might there be something we can do about it?' "
A change in practices might improve the mark for next year, Nordal said.
A separate category examined how parents viewed the pediatric care their children received.
LHSC scored average marks for pediatric care, with Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto leading the nine hospitals in the category.
The province also released reports on rehabilitation and emergency care.
St. Joseph's earned among the highest marks in the province for patient satisfaction in rehabilitation.
"That is great to see," Nordal said.
LHSC wasn't ranked because it does not offer that service.
Both hospitals received average marks in emergency care.
"We were not surprised by that," Nordal said.
The comparison was done just after the emergency departments in London were moved and as the kinks were being ironed out, Nordal said.
"Staying average, in my view, is good."
Patient satisfaction at Ontario's teaching hospitals
Overall patient satisfaction at area small hospitals-
Overall patient satisfaction at area community hospitals-
Provincial average: 85.3
St. Joseph's Health Care London 88.6
London Health Sciences Centre 87.8
The Ottawa Hospital 85.7
Kingston General Hospital 85.2
St. Joseph's Health Care, Hamilton 85.1
University Health Network, Toronto 85.0
St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto 84.9
Hamilton Health Sciences Corp. 84.6
Sudbury Regional Hospital 84.6
Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto 84.5
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre 84.0
Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, Toronto 83.9
Provincial average 89.1
Alexandra Hospital 89.2
Alexandra Marine and General Hospital, Goderich 86.3
South Huron Hospital Exeter supplied no response
-Fewer than 2,700 cases a year
Provincial average 82.8
South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Kincardine 89.1
Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance, Stratford 89.0
Leamington District Memorial Hospital 87.2
Chatham-Kent Health Alliance 86.3
Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital 86.1
St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital 85.2
Woodstock General Hospital 84.4
Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital 84.2
Bluewater Health, Sarnia 82.9
-Hospitals with more than 2,700 cases a year, but not teaching hospitals