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QEH Injecting New Life Into Communicating With Patients

Barbados TODAY  : Over the next few weeks the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) will be rolling out a patient services department to improve the delivery of communication between patient and staff, particularly in the Accident and Emergency Department (AED).

The announcement came from QEH’s Executive Director Juliette Bynoe-Sutherland who told Barbados TODAY that the hospital intended to adopt examples from the hotel sector in the area of customer service to improve the way it communicates with patients.

She said the introduction of the department was necessary to address numerous complaints from members of the public regarding the level of communication in the AED.

“I think what we have at the hospital are professionals who are doing their best to provide the clinical services. But the expectation of the public is for improved communication. People want to know if they are waiting, why they are waiting. Is this wait a part of the clinical process? Are there unknown factors that are impacting on waiting time? I think that if we are able to communicate with people more effectively about what is happening to them individually or their relatives, people are going to be a lot more understanding of what is happening behind the scenes,” she said.

The Executive Director added that the new initiative that will be rolled out by the patient services department will also benefit from a similar project which was successfully executed at the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility, St Lucy.

Bynoe-Sutherland recalled that during the earlier days of the COVID-19 pandemic Harrison’s Point was receiving negative publicity on social media regarding claims from people who visited the facility.

She said that in an effort to get the situation under control, QEH piloted a client relations department under the leadership of Dr Ria Corbin.

“We would have converted some of our orderly and housekeeping staff into positions called client aides. What we did was to take the opportunity in a small setting like Harrison’s Point, to learn what we can do with technology and what we can do with personalised, individualised attention. Each patient at Harrison’s Point, if they have any issues, they have someone that they can reach out to who can respond to their queries and concerns. We want to bring a similar kind of ethos to QEH. We are saying that if we can do this at Harrison’s Point, we can also do it at QEH.

“Harrison’s Point has given us the opportunity to pilot how we can do it and the kind of technology that we can use because we have an application that we are already using there. So we have a nice model, we have seen how it works and we have the confidence that the hospital will be able to roll out such a programme,” Bynoe-Sutherland said.

Article originally published by Barbados TODAY, June 4th, 2022

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