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BWH is set to roll out the next phase of its Service Excellence program. Two projects have been selected for 2004 as a follow-up to the four 2003 projects, launched last spring. All projects speak to improvement within the patient care team and a satisfying patient experience, as well as advancing the hospital’s education and patient care goals.
The new efforts include Enhancing Referring Physician Communication and Enhancing Team Communication and Patient Flow. Like the 2003 initiatives, these two projects are being coordinated by BWH’s Center for Clinical Excellence, in collaboration with the outside design firm, IDEO. Characteristic of all Service Excellence efforts, the projects will address highly visible tasks that are easily defined, measurable and sustainable over time.
“Our service excellence efforts are critical components of our strategic plan, and they are aimed at improving important aspects of the ways in which we care for our patients. These projects will succeed because they will be led, designed and implemented by the staff who are delivering these services,” said BWH President Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA.
Enhancing Referring Physician Communication
The first initiative—Enhancing Referring Physician Communica-tion—was chosen to strengthen the initial and follow-up communication between referring physicians and BWH specialists. This will be achieved by a comprehensive approach, addressing areas of opportunity related to accessing appointments, requesting a consult and communication on patient progress once that patient is seen or admitted at BWH. Executive sponsors of the project include Andrew Sussman, MD, MBA, chief medical officer, BWPO; Vicki Amalfitano, vice president, Marketing and Planning; and Robert Goldszer, MD, MBA, associate chief medical officer.
“The project will develop tactics for more effective and efficient communication between our clinicians and referring physicians—who are equally vital to ensuring BWH’s high quality care. We hope to develop systems to allow our staff to work most efficiently and achieve the highest quality outcomes,” said Goldszer.
Enhancing Team Communication and Patient Flow
The second initiative—Enhancing Team Communication and Patient Flow—involves a three-prong approach to enhancing communication between all members of the care team and eliminating delays in patient flow. First, a group of General Medicine and Surgery residents will be exploring ways to maximize the overall educational experience. Second, service line teams in Oncology, General Medicine, and Thoracic Surgery will be designing and implementing new ways of rounding, communicating the care plan, anticipating discharges, and expediting discharge work. Third, a bed turnaround and patient transport design team will look at ways to improve these aspects of patient flow. Executive sponsors involved with the project include Anthony Whittemore, MD, chief medical officer; Victor Dzau, MD, chair, Department of Medicine; Michael Zinner, MD, chair, Department of Surgery; Nancy Kruger, DNSc, RN, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer; and Arthur Mombourquette, vice president, Support Services.
“In addition to ensuring a smoother patient flow, innovative solutions resulting from this project will further advance our ongoing length of stay goals,” said Kruger.
Teamwork on behalf of all care providers will again prove to be critical to ensure success. The same level of collaboration experienced with the 2003 projects—Pre-surgical, Post-partum Obstetrics, Oncology Discharge and the Front end/Registration (Ideal Patient Experience) —will be expected with 2004 projects to meet the hospital’s overall Service Excellence goals.
Staff involvement is appreciated and input is encouraged. Suggestions and comments should be directed to your manager, director, named project sponsors, or Executive Director of BWH’s Center for Clinical Excellence Michael Gustafson, MD, MBA.