Just a few years ago, a pediatric hospital made a commitment to change and improve its environmental services (ES) department. It brought in new ES leadership and staff, implemented new processes and products, and changed the ES culture. In a relatively short time, staff morale and patient satisfaction scores improved.

“The hospital’s leadership began to see environmental services as the foundation of the patient experience,” says the hospital’s former ES director. “Environmental services became a friendly face to the patients and their families. It was a change in culture that led to a change in performance and patient satisfaction.”

New training and procedures were fundamental to the improvements. For instance, the ES staff went from a one-touch cleaning process to a multitouch program. This change made a difference in the cleanliness and sanitation of the room and showed the hospital’s commitment to preventing cross-contamination.

The hospital also worked to change the culture of the ES team. Technicians were trained to understand why their work was important, not just what to do. They were also encouraged to interact and communicate with patients — and to be another smiling face.

The new ES leadership reorganized its staff and installed a new quality-assurance program. There are more inspections and more specific training for the ES technicians. Employee turnover decreased and associate feedback improved.

“We learned that the environmental services department can have a measurable impact on patient satisfaction scores, reputation and repeat business,” says the former ES director. “The image of the hospital was enhanced through the changes we made.”