Alisha Acosta

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Going Above and Beyond in Patient Experience 

Focusing on patient experience means always looking for any place to drive quality and create the opportunities for patients to have safe and meaningful “well” experiences at every touch point, whether it’s in the parking garage or the OR suite.

Having happy healthy employees engaged at every level of care is one important key to optimal patient experiences, says Alisha Acosta, BAT-OM, RT(R)(CV), director of patient experience at Midland Health. “It’s our job to make sure our culture instills the right mindset for every employee to feel empowered enough to take ownership of any situation and make it better for the benefit of our patients and our health system as a whole.”

Acosta oversees Midland Health’s Culture of Ownership program, the cornerstone of Midland’s Health’s unique, nationally recognized culture. The program has 40 coaches, including three Spanish-speaking coaches, who teach every employee a two-day immersion course in the fundamentals of owning individual practice, embodying and modeling 12 core action values and making a daily pledge to refrain from contributing to toxic emotional negativity.

Acosta attributes this strong Culture of Ownership to Midland Health’s consistently improving high patient satisfaction scores. “Our stories of staff members going above and beyond for a patient are common and staff members are known for treating patients as they would a family member or dear friend.”

She shares the story of a patient who became a quadriplegic and had extended care at Midland Health following a traumatic injury. Because his care was such a positive experience, the patient has made plans after discharge to return as a hospital volunteer and give back the warmth and caring he received.

Communication At A Higher Level

Acosta believes rounding and open communication at all levels is key to driving patient experience. For example, her patient coordinators:

  • round on all first day admits as the day allows,
  • round on three-day admits to work on length of stay initiatives, and
  • round with patients upon discharge to help ensure they understand discharge instructions and to check the patient and family are prepared for at-home care.

Hands-on Leadership

Acosta makes a point to round alongside coordinators and frontline nurses, and maintains an open-door policy with the leaders who report to her as part of her work to reinforce the importance of teamwork. “I feel it is critical for everyone to be able to share input and it’s my job to listen closely to the details of how things work.”

With a focus on building relationships, she uses direct eye contact, face-to-face communication and simple acts such as inviting a staff member on an impromptu trip to the café to build a family environment with her staff. She works to ensure her staff are comfortable enough for open communication without feeling intimidated or judged and she say’s transparency is a critical part of this equation to inspire trust.

Leadership development is also a focus at Midland. Acosta is directly involved in the Leadership Development program to inspire staff into successful management roles and to improve leadership skills that can be beneficial in any role.

Empowered Practice Through Technology, Innovation

Acosta and her team leverage technology to track and input patient information in a way that can be shared, such as with:
  • tablets coordinators use for rounding,
  • software that auto generates patient comments during coordinator rounding and allows the comments to be shared with leadership, and
  • computers located at the bedside and between patient rooms. 

These tools and the fresh ideas Acosta constantly seeks from her frontline facilitate centered care for patients and their family members. “Every decision we make is a decision to keep the patient in the center,” Acosta says. “We keep patients safe and we strive at every point in the continuum of care to give them the best outcome possible.”