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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs in health care settings.


~September 2013~

AIDET Isn't Just For Nursing


Customer service in healthcare is everywhere.  Between patient satisfaction scores published on www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov and value based purchasing efforts to run hospitals in an efficient manner with the best patient outcomes, is it any wonder that the focus is on excellent customer service?

AIDET, a tool from the Studer Group most often used in the nursing environment.  I believe it is an excellent customer service tool that can be used by any staff member (paid and non-paid) in any department.  It's easy to remember and there are lots of online videos that can be used for training.  So, what exactly is AIDET?

AIDET is the acronym forWORDLE

  • Acknowledge
  • Introduce
  • Duration
  • Explanation
  • Thanking

How does this translate to everyone?  We should all acknowledge the patient, visitor, family member as we encounter them in our facilities.  Isn't that the expectation each of us has as consumers (in healthcare or otherwise)?  Once we have acknowledged them, it is appropriate to introduce ourselves so the patient, visitor, family member know who they are speaking with.  After introductions are complete, let the patient, visitor, family member know the duration of what is happening.  This is also where you explain what is happening.  These two steps clarify expectations for the patient, visitor, and family member so they better understand what is going on.  Once the staff member is finished, then the final step is to thank the patient, visitor, family member for allowing you to be of assistance to them. 

This is all very easy and should not be time consuming.  Most of the time it our staff are the first people patients, visitors and family members see when they walk in the door.  The first interaction can set the tone for the entire experience.  Shouldn't that first interaction be one that sets the tone for an excellent customer service experience?  This is but one of many tools that should be a part of everyone's toolkit. 

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The author of the Heath Care Volunteer Programs column is Mary Kay Hood MS, Hendricks Regional Health, Danville, IN (317) 745-3556. With a BS degree in biology from Marian College and a Master of Science in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Mary Kay has been involved in volunteer management over twenty years with a zoo and in the health care field. During that time, she completed the Management of Volunteer Programs course offered at University of Indianapolis, several supervisory training programs as well as the Indiana Hospital and Health Association’s Management Institute offered by the Executive Education Program, School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Mary Kay served on the Nonprofit Training Center of United Way from 1993 to 2006. During that time, she taught many workshops also facilitating speaker arrangements for the Basic Volunteer Management series. Additionally, she has presented at various national and international conferences. Mary Kay served as president of the Central Indiana Association for Volunteer Administration (CIAVA) from 1993-1997 and the Indiana Society of Directors of Volunteer Services (ISDVS) from 2006-2008. She was also the recipient of the 1995 Outstanding Director of Volunteer Services Award and the 2002 United Way of Central Indiana Volunteer of the Year Award. Most recently she served on the Steering Committee for COVAA resulting in the formation of a new national membership organization for those in volunteer management, the Association of Leaders in Volunteer Engagement (AL!VE). With several published articles, she is also author to two books: The One Minute Answer to Volunteer Management Questions and The Volunteer Leader as Change Agent.

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