DeVos Cardiac Diagnostic Unit at Meijer Heart Center ~ Heart to Heart Program

Prior to July 2015, the DeVos Cardiac Diagnostic Unit within the Meijer Heart Center was experiencing stagnant patient satisfaction scores. In CY15 the average Likelihood to Recommend (LHR) score on Press Ganey surveys was 83.5%.

Lack of a team approach was the experience of patients and families particularly in regard to being informed about the test and not having an understanding of what to expect during their visit. Duplicate explanations and questions posed by employee’s added to the confusion and perceived lack of team unity. Multiple interruptions such as, phones, pagers, knocking on the exam door and employees entering the procedure room after the testing had begun, added to patient and family frustration.

The DeVos Cardiac Diagnostic Unit Based Shared Leadership Council identified patient and family satisfaction as an opportunity for improvement. This resulted in the FY16 goal to improve the LHR score. Council members involved in the development of the goal and creation of the Heart to Heart program included:

  • Jill Norton BSN, RN, RN-BC
  • Chris Bopp BS, CNMT, RT(N)
  • Rebecca Chappell CNMT
  • Diane Batts

The Heart to Heart program was developed and implemented as a strategy to address this goal. The purpose of Heart to Heart is to create and implement standard work around how and when patients and families are welcomed into the Cardiac Diagnostic Unit. Furthermore, clarification of role expectations among employees resulted in a unified, team approach in caring for the patients and families served by the Cardiac Diagnostic Unit.

Development and implementation of standardized workflow is the foundation of the Heart to Heart program and includes:

  • Creation of Heart to Heart team daily huddles with focus on Managing for Daily Improvement boards (MDI). The MDI board includes Press Ganey results, Golden Tickets and Sedation Volumes.
  • Registration notification to all members of the team who will be involved in the care of the patient upon patient’s arrival.
  • Creation and implementation of standard work for individual disciplines highlighting role expectations in relation to the Heart to Heart program and their interactions with the patient and family.
  • Increased communication by providing explanations surrounding the procedure prior to the actual prep for the procedure and patients, families and team members are kept aware of any delays.
  • Created standard communication process between patient transport and schedulers.
  • Patient transport introduces patient by name to echo technician as part of handoff process.
  • Improved staff communication with lab technicians for type and screen process which includes introduction of the lab tech to patient.
  • Identification of the core of the Heart to Heart program ~ which is to smile, have eye contact, and introduce oneself – every time.

In CY2016, the Cardiovascular Diagnostic Unit achieved average LTR scores of 89%.


Since implementation of the Heart to Heart program there has been an ongoing effort to improve and add to standard work. Currently the team is focused on decreasing phone calls and ringing of Ascom phones. Strategies include use of text messaging and eliminating the “middle man” in communications regarding the arrival of the patient.