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St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center

Advancing Excellence

Aug 12 2013
Improvement in Health Care: Quality, Safety, Satisfaction

This Sunday morning there is another story in our paper on outcomes for the area's hospitals.  We had an interesting breakfast table conversation on what is important to pay attention to, why all this profiling  now, and what are we doing to improve.  Some of these ranking systems give us high grades for cardiac, vascular and orthopedic outcomes, top rankings for Consumer Choice, and this morning an honor roll mention for cardiac care.  Other systems tell us we have work to do to reduce noise, as well as improve communications and outcomes.

It was not until a few years ago that we  had good sources of data on outcomes, could benchmark against best practices and begin to localize responses. Once the health care industry understood the challenges, the environment has become focused on improvement. We have to get better; there's no debate on that point. But, it's important to focus on what really works and the best paths to improvement.

We have chosen to do a lot of education with our teams, work with the Krasnoff Quality Institute, join the Partnership for  Patients, and are now adopting tools such as AIDET, and CHAT, and team approaches including Lifewings,  MoreOB, and Team STEPPS. All are aimed at improvement to benefit our patients.

For St. Joseph's the focus areas include creating a culture of safety, improving patient satisfaction, tracking outcomes and pursuing improvement, and creating an atmosphere of caring and listening to patients. Our board of trustees has created a Performance Excellence Committee that is monitoring our progress and holding us accountable.

Recently a patient's family member came to see me about concerns with our communications. We listened and are reflecting on not only how to do a better job, but how can we involve patients and families in a way that improves care and communications. Our new Office of the Patient Experience is charged with helping us find these new paths.

The philosophy we are adopting is simply, "do what is best for our patients every patient, every encounter, every  time." Create a culture that is "just," speak  up when we are concerned,  hold ourselves accountable for good practice and safety, listen to our patients and families and communicate!

We are getting better every day, but we cannot deny we have work to do, and we all play a role in that improvement.

Thank you for each of your helpful contributions on this Journey to Excellence. 


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