White Plains Hospital, a 292-bed medical and surgical facility north of New York City, has been relying on Crothall’s environmental services (EVS) to optimize the time spent there by its 170,000 annual patients for nearly 15 years.
Crothall Healthcare’s solutions for environmental services in hospital settings have become the pride of the industry, focusing effective cleaning with the best possible patient experience.
At a Glance
White Plains Hospital
Crothall acquired the EVS contract with White Plains Hospital in 2005 with the purchase of the former provider. The company’s principles and processes for EVS led to radical improvements in cleanliness scores and encouraged the hospital to retain Crothall’s services through many contract renewals.
“Professionalism is the number one gift of Crothall,” said Ramo Rizvani, Senior Director of Operations at White Plains Hospital. “No one in the process ever said something was impossible or even too hard to accomplish. Everyone from the chief operating officer to the newest EVS worker is always thinking about how we can work together to accomplish something great on an everyday basis.”
Masters of the Fundamentals
The right start started with the right people. Hiring shifted away from experience in favor of the right attitude and personality to meet Crothall’s high standards for patient experience. Senior administration supported the move, even when it temporarily increased overtime. The strategic approach was more than worth it. “We’d rather have vacancies for a short time while we hire the right people,” said Rizvani.
Training shaped good material into someof Crothall’s best workers. Staff education focused on Crothall’s High Profile Cleaning, a 10-step process that confirms a clean environment for the patient’s health care. On top of the practical aspects of cleanliness, staff become representatives of the Crothall approach to communications with eye contact, voice projection and the smile that leaves patients feeling happy and secure.
Leading from the Front
The best staff also have the best managers.
Constant training keeps High Profile Cleaning and details specific to White Plains Hospital at the top of employees’ minds while managers set high expectations and make clear goals for their units. The common language of cleanliness and courtesy turned groups of workers into a real team.
Administrators made the buy-in required to make Crothall a real part of the system. The chief operating officer and the chief nursing officer started a chain reaction of enthusiasm for the positive changes made by Crothall’s managers and staff. Senior managers attended EVS council meetings from the beginning and still make efforts to attend. “Not many organizations can say their leaders had that level of commitment,” said Rizvani.
Focus on the right people rewarded the hospital’s administration. Staff turnover has dropped to between 7% and 8% in recent years, well below the average for hospital cleanliness professionals. Employees have also moved up in the organization, switching from Crothall to entry-level positions in nursing and operating departments.
By the Numbers
50% Increase in Press Ganey “Cleanliness of Room” Results from 2015 to 2018
7-8% Reduction in Staff Turnover – well below the average for hospital cleanliness professionals
The Staff of Miracles
Friendliness sets the Crothall team apart.
“Other departments see EVS as the miracle workers of friendliness,” said Rizvani. “They became the poster children of professionalism among health care workers who spend their lives working with people at their worst. The EVS team is often an example when other departments are looking to improve communications or patient experience.
EVS teams now expect themselves to exceed goals. “At one point, we had a quarter that did not improve on the last one as much as before,” recalled Tony Sweigart, Regional Director of Operations at White Plains Hospital. “Everyone was genuinely disappointed even though it was still one of the highest scores we had seen to date.” Managers and administrators make a point to celebrate wins with the staff and point out exemplary service on the floor.
The Best Basis for New Achievements
White Plains Hospital rose steadily in cleanliness rankings. The facility was ranked near the 25th percentile in Press Ganey’s “cleanliness of hospital” rankings in the second quarter of 2015, before the administration requested a higher focus on environmental services improvements. Scores never dropped below the 50th percentile after 2015, and rankings reached the 86th percentile in 2018.
The hospital’s ambition keeps the staff improving. White Plains Hospital more than doubled its annual revenue and employment complement in the last nine years, and Crothall’s EVS services increased efficiency along with the growth. “We’re at a level ten points ahead of where the hospital needs us to be,” said Rizvani. “We want to see consistent levels as high as possible.”
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