Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Surprise, Surprise

Halloween brings neighborhoods and businesses together in many unique ways. For instance, we hosted some trick or treaters in our food court a few days before Halloween (thanks to all our volunteer staff members who helped set this up)

I am always pleasantly surprised to see the various costumes which represent current and past events in our society. I saw costumes around H1N1, the Octomom and several 'reality' stars. There were the usual sports players and political figures as well. While the costumes may change from year to year, many of the candy options remain the same. Very few surprises here. My kids emptied their bags and immediately put aside any "unsealed" candies (something that I needed training on every year when I was a kid). Again, not looking for any surprises on whether things are safe or not. Our hospital is fortunate to have great nursing care and strong customer service. Over the past month we have even seen a decline in percentage of patient complaints - something we track on a weekly basis for trends. As I indicated in a previous blog, there are times then things do not go as we would expect, surprises, if you will---times when we fail to meet expectations.

Whether it is a patient who leaves our emergency room before getting discharged or a patient who does not receive outpatient care in a timely mannner, expectations may not be met. We strive to empower all our associates to address the issue right away and escalate to their manager as needed. This does not always mean things go as planned but St. Joseph Medical Center's employees look to take ownership of the care and service we provide.

(A hospital in Delaware had a "surprise" recently. Rest assured we are doing all we can to avoid this here at SJMC, though I think in the grand scheme of protecting our patients from harm, deer attack is pretty low on the list.)

Several improvements have taken place over the past couple months which I would like to share:

SJMC baseline energy usage was set in June 2008 at 38 (scale of 1-100). As of August 2009 our Energy Star rating is 46 which represents a 6.4% decrease in energy consumption. This fantastic outcome was accomplished by changing operating procedures, lighting retrofits, purchasing more efficient equipment and educating people on the importance of turning things off when not in use.
SJMC has started utilizing Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) in our GI Lab. EUS combines endoscopy and ultrasound in order to obtain images and information about the digestive tract and the surrounding tissue and organs. EUS provides detailed, cost-effective, nonsurgical assessment of certain diseases.

SJMC has received the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR ACTION Registry–GWTG Silver Performance Achievement Award for 2009 – one of only 36 hospitals nationwide to do so. The award recognizes St. Joseph Medical Center’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients, and signifies that St. Joseph Medical Center has reached an aggressive goal of treating coronary artery disease patients with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.

SJMC's rate of "Left Without Being Seen" (LWBS) in our Emergency Department has improved to below the national benchmark. While we are proud of this, we still have a goal of -zero- patients who leave our Emergency Department without being seen.

Most of us do not like surprises when it comes to our health. I look forward to hearing how your organization escalates issues in a timely manner and what you have learned from this.

And back to Halloween...when I dug into my kid's candy bags, it was certainly a welcome surprise to find some good ol' Whoppers and Mike & Ikes...always a welcome treat.

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