So What Did You Learn?

I was asked by a member of our team what we learned at the Quality Academy recently held at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. (More information is related on this past week’s international education meeting in my previous blog).  I thought it was a good question.  While we participated in the faculty, sharing some of the improvement initiatives at McLeod… we are also students ourselves, always seeking to learn from others.

For example, one presentation prompted a thought… in comparing McLeod to other leading hospitals, we could be more patient and family oriented in the delivery of care.  We have good patient satisfaction scores and we continue to work diligently toward the consistency of service across departments with the Ten Service Standards. However, at times, many of our efforts tend to be based on our technical knowledge of survey data integrated with our experience. This is a definite strength and also needs to be more informed by patients and families.

Jim Reinertsen, MD, a Senior Fellow with the IHI, and Jim Conway, Senior Vice President at the IHI, both encouraged Quality Academy attendees to use a self assessment tool developed by the Institute for Family Centered Care. In particular, the results should be shared not only with leadership but with a Patient and Family Council as well.

In healthcare, there is a growing realization that care is fragmented. However, when medical care is optimally organized around the patient the results are:
• better continuity of care;
• more optimal office visits;
• less waste, harm and inefficiency; and
• families, who are part of the process, better follow through with the
prescribed regimen of care.

Significantly, increased patient and family involvement is not only the right and respectful thing to do… it is also what clinicians want; it is why they went into health care.

Jim Conway with the IHI summarized the point by sharing what the research reveals within a patient’s perspective.  Patient’s want:
• to be listened to, taken seriously and respected as a partner in care;
• to have things explained fully and clearly;
• to receive an explanation and an apology if things go wrong;
• to have information communicated to all members of their care team with timely documentation which is available when requested.

At first glance, it is also what we want for patients and ourselves.  At second glance, we tend to become defensive and try to explain the complexity of the fragmented healthcare system.  However, let’s not let ‘best get in the way of better.’  There are ways to prioritize and continue working toward the ideal.

So, in this quarter, April to June 2010, we will perform an organization-wide ’self assessment’ with a tool developed by the Institute for Family Centered Care, share the results with leadership and a Patient and Family Council.

If you have thoughts, articles or interest in learning more about this effort to increase our patient and family focus, please let me know.

Thanks for all you do for patients and their families.  Let us continue to partner with patients and families as we seek to improve the health and well being of the people in our community.


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