SGMC Named Best Hospital for Patient Experience

Barbara Kieker

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

South Georgia Medical Center earned recognition from the Women's Choice Award as one of America's Best Hospitals for Outstanding Patient Experience. The award identifies the best hospitals based on data from patient satisfaction surveys that is weighted by what a group of 200,000 women surveyed by Women's Choice Award say they want from a hospital. 

"What I found really impressive at South Georgia Medical Center is that they have a dedicated patient-experience team that includes both clinical and non-clinical professionals to identify and fix service breakdowns," said Delia Passi, CEO and founder of WomenCertified Inc., home to the Women's Choice Awards. 

"They took the position that it's not about delivering a great patient experience; it's about delivering a memorable patient experience."

Being a Best Hospital

According to Passi, it takes a real commitment from hospitals to make the Women's Choice Award list of America's  Best. The recognition has been awarded to hospitals for five years in a variety of categories and approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of hospitals on each list turn over in any given year. 

"It's not that hospitals are doing worse from year to year, it's that other hospitals are improving," Passi said. 

"Until 2012, only clinical outcomes were considered as a factor in Medicare reimbursement to hospitals. Now both clinical excellence and patient experience are factors so hospitals are putting time and energy into improving patient satisfaction." 

This year was the first year SGMC was recognized by Women's Choice Award. In addition to being a Best Hospital in the U.S. for patient experience, SGMC was also recognized in 2014 by Women's Choice Award as a Best Hospital for Cancer Care. SGMC is a 418-bed acute-care hospital with more than 300 physicians and 2,800 staff members. Located in Valdosta, SGMC serves a multi-county area in South Georgia and North Florida. 

In total, 11 hospitals in Georgia were recognized by Women's Choice Award as a Best Hospital for Outstanding Patient Experience, including Athens Regional Health System, Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, John D. Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville, Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Northside Medical Center in Columbus, SGMC, St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens, Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, Union General Hospital in Blairsville and University Hospital in Augusta.

What Women Want

Women's Choice Award uses data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey - a national, standardized, publicly reported survey of patients' perspectives of hospital care. The survey is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is designed to allow meaningful comparisons of hospitals, provide incentives for hospitals to improve quality of care and enhance accountability. 

In its scoring process, Women's Choice Award weights the HCAHPS survey data to emphasize what is important to women. According to Passi, the Women's Choice Award website has a group of about 200,000 women followers who are surveyed periodically on various issues to gain a woman's perspective.

"We send the questions that are on the HCAHPS survey to our database of women and ask them to rank which questions are of the most importance to them," Passi said. 

"For example, women tend to rate cleanliness of the hospital room as more important than quiet. And they rate communications with physicians of greater importance than communication with nurses. So what we are really doing is capturing the woman's mindset." 

More information on South Georgia Medical Center is available at More information on the Women's Choice Award is available at

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.