IHA case studies

Ask Me To Explain Campaign: Improving Communication to Increase Patient Satisfaction in the Pediatric Emergency Department


Parental satisfaction with pediatric emergency department visits has been argued to be best predicted "by how well physicians and nurses work together, followed by wait time and pain management." The primary aim of this initiative was to assess changes in parental satisfaction with communication provided by caregivers in the pediatric ED as measured by the response to the question "staff sensitivity to your fears and concerns." A quality improvement initiative, the "Ask-Me-To-Explain-Campaign," was launched to improve communication among physicians and nurses and communication between hospital staff and patients in the pediatric ED. Physicians and nurses were educated on the campaign tools, their purpose, and how to use them to initiate discussion and provide answers to patient concerns. Education was then spread to support staff including environmental services staff and administrative staff, ensuring any hospital staff working in the department had received training about the campaign. Using a 90-day action plan, this initiative was associated with a 54.6 percent increase in satisfaction with staff sensitivity from baseline.

This case study is part of the Illinois Hospital Association's annual quality awards. Each year, IHA recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Illinois hospitals in continually improving and transforming health care in the state.  These hospitals are improving health by striving to achieve the Triple Aim--improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction); improving the health of populations; and reducing the per capita cost of health care.

Award recipients achieve measurable and meaningful progress in providing care that is:

  • Safe
  • Timely
  • Effective
  • Efficient
  • Equitable
  • Patient-centered

(The Institute of Medicine's six aims for improvement.)

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