Case Detail

Case Summary

Analyzing Low Patient Satisfaction at Herzog Memorial Hospital

Case Number: 5-113-003, Year Published: 2013

HBS Number: KEL740

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Authors: Jack Boepple

Key Concepts

Business Process Improvement, Change Management, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Service, Health Care, Operations Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Six Sigma, Total Quality, Customer Satisfaction


In late 2012 Adeline Herzog Memorial Hospital in Castle Rock, Colorado, was facing a problem with patient satisfaction. The Press-Ganey scores for the third-floor nursing unit—the primary destination (70 percent) for patients admitted through the emergency department—were at the 15th percentile, and the key HCAHPS score for inpatients was well below the Colorado average. Over the past six months Jeri Tinsley, director of medical, surgical, and intensive care services, had made various changes to try to improve the patient satisfaction scores for her 32-bed unit, but the scores seemed stuck at an unacceptably low level.

Tinsley worried that if improvements were not made soon, patients would start “voting with their feet” and take their business to competing hospitals. As a registered nurse, Tinsley’s expertise was helping people heal; it was not analyzing data. In particular, she was overwhelmed by the patient comments included in the surveys; she had no idea how to analyze them and could not decide which issues to address first.

Learning Objectives

After analyzing the case, students should be able to:
• Organize and analyze qualitative data using affinity diagrams
• Identify priorities using Pareto diagrams
• Identify which aspects of a problem are (1) within their control to solve, (2) within their influence to solve, or (3) outside their control to solve

Number of Pages: 5

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: Colorado, United States

Industry: Health Care

Organization Name: Fictional

Organization Department: Medical, Surgical, and Intensive Care Services

Decision Maker Position: Director

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2012