MARSHALL – The team at Oaklawn is looking for some insight.
“We’re looking for advice from people who’ve visited us in one way or another, either as a patient with our various medical services, or as a caregiver or family member,” said Jane Jones, Oaklawn’s executive director of organizational excellence.
If that describes you, your assistance would be valuable as a participant on Oaklawn’s Voice of the Customer Advisory Council, she said.
“We’re beefing up our four-year effort to keep the lines of communication open with the community,” said Jones, who has been with the hospital for eight years. “It definitely has paid off for Oaklawn and its patients over the years.”
Just last year, a walk-around tour of the hospital by council members led to discussions and changes for the better, said Melissa Ryan, Oaklawn’s quality improvement representative and patient advocate.
“We tweaked some things about where the signs are located to people can move through the hospital more smoothly,” Ryan said. “For example, we didn’t have a sign in the main entry to show where our Birth Center could be found. Now we have a big sign in the lobby to guide people better.”
“We need that kind of feedback about what will benefit our customers, because there are times when we on the ‘inside’ don’t necessarily think of everything,” Jones said. “That’s why we are reaching out to get more people involved.”
Community members, former patients and others who are interested in getting involved in the council may contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or Christy Siebert of Oaklawn’s education services email@example.com. Ryan may be reached at (269) 789-8286 and Siebert at (269) 789-8132.
Application forms are available from front office staff in physician offices at the Wright Medical Building, 215 E. Mansion St., and a drop box is situated in the entrance of the Wright building and the hospital’s main lobby.
“We really want more community members involved,” Ryan said. “It’s important for all of us to have an impact and be able to say, ‘I helped with this process and its development. They really do value my input.’ … So, we hope people will help us out and give us their feedback.”
Since joining Oaklawn three years ago, Ryan also has come to serve the hospital as a representative to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association’s Patient Safety Organization, headquartered in Okemos.
That organization meets quarterly to bring together a statewide group of hospital patient advocates in an effort to produce new ideas and recommendations on how to improve services, Ryan said.
“It’s a way for us to come together to network and brainstorm on common issues that hospitals are having,” Ryan said. “We share a lot of information about patient safety, how to become more transparent in our communication, and getting family and patients involved in health care.”