Survey seeks public’s views on Porter Hospital services

MIDDLEBURY — The Porter Medical Center (PMC) board is looking forward to getting countywide feedback on its services through a new survey that will be offered electronically to many hundreds of local health care consumers and workers during the coming weeks.
The survey is being spearheaded by Porter board member Jessica Holmes, who is an associate professor of economics at Middlebury College. Holmes, a relatively new member to the PMC board, thought a survey would help area health care providers get a better understanding of the community’s needs and its perception of how services are delivered.
Anyone can take the survey, which takes around 10 minutes to complete, by logging on to www.portermedical.org or by going directly to the survey at https://middlebury.keysurvey2.com/survey/388277/2e28.
“In the process of learning more about Porter, we started talking more about the (health care) reforms that are happening and how the reform efforts are affecting Porter Hospital,” Holmes said. “I think my background as a researcher and an empirical data person, in many ways, I thought ‘What do we know about people’s perceptions of the hospital and the practices here, and of the strengths and weaknesses of Addison County health care?’”
Porter Hospital spokesman Ron Hallman confirmed that while PMC has conducted some customer satisfaction surveys, it has never before devised and sent out a countywide opinion poll.
“We always want to know what the community thinks about the services we provide,” Hallman said.
Holmes, no stranger to surveys in her line of work, decided to give some momentum to the project. She enlisted the help of a very capable student intern, Madison Styrbicki, to help out. Together, and with the aid of Porter officials, they assembled 42 questions soliciting feedback on PMC’s hospital, nursing home and physicians’ practices.
Many of the questions ask respondents to rank Porter Medical Center, in terms of the quality of care received (or perceived) and how they would rank PMC compared to other regional hospitals in terms of available technology, quality of services and patient safety.
Respondents are also asked to state what factors they consider most important when evaluating which hospital they choose to use. Those answering the survey are also asked to rank, from “very poor” to “very good,” various health care services in Addison County ranging from midwifery to oncology.
The survey features space in which respondents can expand upon their responses on some questions.
Porter officials have high hopes for the survey, which will be e-mailed to a wide cross section of the county’s population. It will be whisked to everyone on the e-mail lists of PMC, Middlebury College and the Addison County Chamber of Commerce. Hallman anticipates that many businesses leaders who receive the survey through the chamber will in turn pass it on to their respective employees.
“I think we will glean a lot, in terms of where people are choosing to get their care,” Holmes said.
She stressed the survey is about local health care services and not about state health care reform efforts.
“We are trying to assess what people think of health care offerings in our county,” Holmes said.
Holmes has yet to set a closing date for the survey, but expects to have the results tabulated late this winter.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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