Voice of the Senior

In February 1997, the PeaceHealth Oregon Region (PHOR) Governing Board approved the region’s strategic priorities, which included the development of a Senior Services service line. The Executive Team also implemented a process called Quality Functional Deployment (QFD) and a tool called the Voice of the Customer (VOC) to ensure that services planned are based on what customers want and need.

The QFD is a system for translating customer requirements into appropriate company requirements at each stage of the process (from research to marketing/sales to operations). The QFD system VOC tool required the following steps:

  • Identify project scope & objective
  • Organize team
  • List expected results
  • Determine who are the customers
  • Obtain the Whats from the customer
  • Organize Whats into groups
  • Identify Importance
  • Compare Competitively
  • Establish the Hows

To obtain the customers’ input a series of 5 questions are asked repeatedly until the statements and ideas become similar. The 5 questions are:

  • What is the most important? Why?
  • What is the least important? Why?
  • What features/services do you like/dislike? Why?
  • What is your best worst experience? Why?
  • What would you change? Why?

The project team talked with over 400 customers and identified over 100 customer needs (the Whats). The team then developed 275 actions or solutions (the Hows). The list of Hows was then prioritized and a list of 57 actions or solutions were finalized.

The Voice of the Customer process made the planning committee keenly aware of the need to focus on the relational aspects of patient care. This need was a constant theme and reflected in the customer data that confirmed the findings that seniors received "high tech" but wanted "high touch" services. "High touch" services are user friendly, holistic, respectful, personalized, and provided in care settings that reflect the following needs:

  • Clinical expertise provided by a Geriatrician and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Friendly services with senior sensitive staff and facility design
  • Care tailored to the specific needs of seniors
  • Convenient, easy access to services
  • Additional quality time with providers
  • Education and teaching
  • Patient/family participation in the care process
  • Enhanced communication between providers and patient/family
  • Comprehensive care (one stop shopping)
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • Care follow-up, coordination and monitoring
  • Prevention and health screening services
  • Wellness and health promotion approach to care

These 13 concepts were the foundation for the development of the Senior Health & Wellness Center and the team continues to use them as a guide for quality improvement activities.

Focus Groups

The PeaceHealth Oregon Region Governing Board approved their regional strategic plan in February 1997 that included a focus on senior care service development. The Senior Advisory Committee developed a business plan in 1998. The plan called for development of distinct Senior Health Centers that would be integrated with existing PeaceHealth Medical Group satellite clinics.

To ensure the Senior Health Centers would be developed appropriately from the patients’ perspective, four focus groups were held in July 1998. Three of the focus groups were with seniors age 55 plus and one with family members involved in caring for a senior.

Focus Group Results 1998 (pdf)

The Senior Health & Wellness Center opened its doors to patients in February 2000. Much of the “Senior Health Center” concepts tested in the 1998 focus groups were adopted by the Senior Health & Wellness Center. Two and one half years later, a second series of focus groups were held with patients and family caregivers to learn about their experiences and perceptions with the Center.

Focus Group Results 2002 (pdf)