When you walk through the doors of a hospital, there’s a lot on your mind. Whether you are coming here as a patient, family member or visitor, your first thought as the doors slide open is likely “where do I need to go?” Hillcrest South leadership is making sure before you have a chance to ask, they are there introducing themselves and welcoming you to the hospital. It is a new initiative called the First Impressions Program and the reason everyone from the CEO to the Quality Manager is spending less time behind the desk and more time at the entrance of the hospital.
“Visitors don’t expect to see the CEO of the hospital greeting and escorting patients when they enter a hospital, much less any organization,” explains Hillcrest South Administrator Matt Morgan. “I think that sets the tone for patients that this will be a special experience. Our leadership team has really bought into the program. We find it to be a very rewarding experience and something we all look forward to each week.”
“We believe this gives us the opportunity to put our best foot forward,” says Director of Operations Frank Evans. The first impression goes beyond an introduction at the front door. When patients and visitors ask for directions they are personally taken where they need to go. “Many folks have been impressed to say that they have never seen this at any other hospital and that they appreciate it very much,” adds Evans. “We get appreciation from those who need to be taken multiple places, since we stay with them to get through the hospital to complete their needs.”
The simple gesture of being there when someone needs you, Hillcrest South believes can have a dramatic impact. “Many of these patients are very anxious about coming to a hospital, especially if this is their first time,” shares Morgan. “We believe a warm greeting and a friendly smile is one way we can help reduce that anxiety and make them feel more comfortable.”
Dedicating time each week greeting visitors gives leadership the opportunity to listen to visitors’ concerns and compliments. It is also a time Evans says they can notice other things happening around the hospital. “As we spend time with the patients, as well as just looking around in the lobby and watching to see what is going on, we find opportunities to make improvements on how things flow and how we can make getting the patients to the right place even better,” he says.
For anyone visiting Hillcrest South, the leadership team hopes the first impression will be a lasting impression.