SOURCE: Avatar International

November 19, 2008 14:00 ET

Avatar International Launches Patient Satisfaction Evaluation, Improvement Program for Southcentral Foundation

ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwire - November 19, 2008) - As part of ongoing efforts to ensure the quality and range of healthcare services exceed the expectations of its Alaska Native and American Indian customer/owners, Southcentral Foundation of Anchorage has engaged Avatar International, an industry leader in healthcare quality improvement services, to deploy a comprehensive patient satisfaction evaluation and service delivery optimization program.

Southcentral Foundation is an Alaska Native-owned healthcare organization serving approximately 55,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people living in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley and 55 rural villages in the Anchorage Service Unit. Over the past 26 years, its health system has been transformed through deployment of The Nuka Model of Care, a focal point of which is improvements to health services such as same-day access and integrated care teams.

The result has been soaring satisfaction rates and improved health outcomes, driven largely by the focus on customer partnering and customer-driven decision making.

"At Southcentral Foundation, we set our priorities based on what the customer/owner wants. This partnership with Avatar will present even more opportunities for customer/owners to communicate their expectations, which allows us to continue improving and enhancing services," said Southcentral Foundation President and CEO Katherine Gottlieb.

Because customer feedback drives development of Southcentral Foundation's programs and services, as well as annual plans, it was important to select a vendor who could effectively capture the voice of the customer. "Thoughtful listening is not just good business practice; it is part of developing relationships," said Gottlieb. "And relationships are the foundation of our entire system."

Avatar will utilize its Intelligent Surveys™ to evaluate the entire patient journey, recognizing that high standards of care are only achieved when viewed holistically. Some specific examples that go beyond the traditional care delivery model include satisfaction with Southcentral Foundation in areas such as access to and timeliness of care and cultural respectfulness in the delivery of care. Customer feedback will be sought regarding inpatient and outpatient medical care, including urgent care, as well as dental, behavioral health and Elder care. Avatar and Southcentral Foundation will utilize results to develop a targeted patient experience enhancement program and work collaboratively on its deployment.

"Southcentral Foundation is a distinctive healthcare organization dedicated to meeting the needs of a unique population in a way that is respectful of the culture and traditions upon which its community places a high value," said Avatar International CEO David Medvedeff, Pharm.D., MBA. "Avatar tailors its surveys for each client and patient. We will provide the detailed, actionable information needed to help Southcentral achieve its goal of exceeding patient expectations in both quality and culture, and provide the culturally applicable information needed to ensure it is achieving its mission."

Avatar constructs a custom survey for each patient that reflects the precise services and care received, including clinically relevant data on education, treatment and outcome items specific to their health condition. This provides a complete picture of the patient experience and measures both satisfaction and expectations. Because they are constructed for each patient, Avatar's surveys highlight the relationship between the provider and the patient, yielding higher response rates and better results.

As data is received, it is uploaded into Avatar's online reporting system. Here, clients can access their results at any time and in a format of their choosing, including both visual and interactive information displays. Clients can utilize the secure website or work directly with an Avatar consultant to set and assign goals, develop action plans, track progress, or adopt built-in improvement ideas that have been developed over the firm's 25 years of training and consulting experience.

About Southcentral Foundation

Established in 1982, Southcentral Foundation's mission is to work together with the Native Community to achieve wellness through health and related services. The non-profit health care affiliate of CIRI, SCF has grown in its 26 years, from a single dental clinic to an internationally recognized, award-winning health care organization that employs more than 1,350 people, and administers a budget of more than $181 million annually to manage more than 60 health care programs and services.

About Avatar International

Avatar (, a research and consulting group based in Orlando, Fla., specializes in Evidence Based Intelligent Surveys™ and Innovative Strategies™ to transform information into significant quality and efficiency of care improvement for the healthcare industry. In addition to conducting surveys, Avatar also actively engages healthcare providers in process improvement, including training in service quality. Avatar serves healthcare organizations nationally, including small community hospitals, academic medical centers, large regional medical centers, integrated healthcare systems, long-term care and behavioral health organizations.

Contact Information

  • Media Contacts:

    For Avatar International:
    Liz Roop
    (813) 902-3578
    Email Contact

    For Southcentral Foundation:
    Kristin Tolbert
    (907) 729-6317
    Email Contact