Surgery Center Best Practice: Send Hand-Signed Letters to Patients After Surgery

While more ambulatory surgery centers are moving away from communicating with patients through paper and gravitating toward electronic tools such as e-mail as a means of corresponding with patients prior to surgery or as a way to obtain patient satisfaction surveys, Lakes Surgery Center in West Bloomfield, Mich., turned to a more traditional medium to enhance patient as well as staff satisfaction: sending hand-signed thank you notes.


"A year and a half ago, I implemented sending thank you notes to the patients after their procedure," says Anne Hargrave-Thomas, administrator/CEO. "We have everyone involved in the patients' care sign it. As with any new program, everyone was a bit skeptical and grumbled because it was one more thing to do. But we received so many phone calls from our elderly population who were so thankful for the note they received, it made it worth it. We shared the patient responses we were getting with the staff and then they all jumped on board and said, 'Where do we sign?' The staff was excited to continue our thank you note program."


Jennifer Butterfield, clinical nurse manager, says one of the ASC's best success stories correlates directly to a hand-signed thank you note.


"One of our patients, received a thank you note around Christmas time," Ms. Butterfield says. "He called me on the phone and said it was the only card he got around Christmas. He said, 'You guys are so professional, I loved my stay there. You took really good care of me.' He actually sent us a Christmas card thanking us for our note.


"He turned out to be a repeat patient, and the next time he came in he brought the staff cookies," she says. "It's that kind of [gesture] that helps the staff know they touched someone's life. It really goes to show you how something so small can bring joy to our patients."


The thank you notes provide the patients with Ms. Butterfield's phone number and name should they have any additional comments or suggestions they wish to share. "This allows us the opportunity to correct any problems or address any concerns promptly," says Ms. Hargrave-Thomas. "We are firm believers in the electronic age but we have found this to be a program that works for our patients."


Learn more about Lakes Surgery Center.


Read more surgery center best practices:


-  Critical Surgery Center Mistake: Failure to React to Departing Physician


- 5 Ways Pennsylvania's Doylestown Surgery Center Saved $400K


- 5 Areas Profitable Surgery Centers are Still Leaving Money on the Table

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