Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 – A Year Of Great Accomplishments for GBMC HealthCare

2011 was a year of tremendous accomplishment for the GBMC HealthCare system.  In this week’s blog I wanted to look back at what we’ve been able to achieve throughout the year.

At the top of the achievement list for 2011 is rolling out the organization’s new strategic plan "GBMC HealthCare System – Our New Vision, Our New Plan to Get There" and new vision phrase, "To every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones."

These aren’t just words, but rather are the guiding principle behind all of our actions – whether they occur at the bedside giving patient care, in the hallway providing directions, or on the phone offering guidance.

We have committed as an organization to Better Health, Better Care, Lower Cost and More Joy and our system is working to dramatically transform healthcare delivery.  We recognize that the healthcare system as we know does marvelous things everyday but it is too fragmented. We are working to be a part of the national solution by building continuous, reliable, and integrated care.

This year, we have moved toward a system that is more patient-centered, and evidence-based using the medical home model where physicians and their care teams focus on a patient's overall wellness rather than just focusing on episodes of illness. To accomplish this, we have made significant investments in healthcare information technology and are building a network of hospital and community-based healthcare providers (Greater Baltimore Health Alliance) to oversee the integration and coordination of that care.

In 2011, we finished the implementation of a Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system, that has already significantly improved patient safety by significantly improving the turnaround time of orders, and launched our electronic medical records system using eClinicalWorks, which will help to better integrate care, reduce unnecessary testing, improve the underuse of necessary testing, increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve communication and sharing of information among providers.  At our Greater Baltimore Medical Associates at Hunt Valley practice, we launched our patient portal pilot, a personalized and secure communication link between the patient and physician’s office that provides convenient 24-hour electronic access to an individual’s health information.

Another important highlight during 2011 was the re-launch of the Board of Directors Quality Committee, which is a recognition by the organization’s governing body of our true mission.  We have always talked about Health, Healing and Hope but frequently we’ve acted as if it were enough to be a financially successful organization. While that is important, if the board is not directly and deeply scrutinizing the quality of the product which is generating Health, Healing and Hope then they are missing an important part of their job.  The board embraced this notion and quickly got together an action plan, led by Bonnie Stein who was appointed as the quality committee’s first chairperson.  We had a board retreat dedicated to quality issues, and members all read the book “Why Hospitals Should Fly”, an essential look at patient safety and service quality.  Board members now have a much deeper understanding of the product and what they need to do to better oversee the fulfillment of our mission.

We also created the positions of medical directors for the hospital’s inpatient units – effectively creating a leadership team on each unit.  It goes back to the concept in service that you don’t achieve outstanding performance in a large complex company by having brilliant people in the front office. You get to outstanding performance through the leadership at the smallest replicable unit, which in healthcare is the inpatient unit or the physician’s office or other clinical area or department.  We have always had nurse managers of our inpatient units who do a marvelous job every day but frequently we have lacked physician leadership on our units so that it was difficult for us to present to the patient as a team. We have had units where doctors come and go – working hard but not connected to the goals of the unit.  Now the appointed medical directors will work hand in hand with the nurse managers to help achieve the quadruple aim of better health outcomes, better care experience, at a lower cost with more joy for those providing the care. 

Accomplishments during 2011 also included:
  • Unveiling of the Pink Ribbon Cancer Garden at the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute.
  • 104 members of GBMC’s medical staff in 69 different specialty areas were recognized in the annual Baltimore Magazine Top Docs issue.
  • Two new members joined the organization’s senior management team – Jenny Coldiron, who joined in May as Vice President of Development and President of the GBMC Foundation, and Deloris Simpson Tuggle, who joined in December as vice president of human resources and organizational development / chief human resources officer.
  • Janet Sunness, M.D., medical director of Greater Baltimore Medical Center’s Richard E. Hoover Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, was recognized with the prestigious academic medical recognition, the 2011 Macula Society’s J. Donald M. Gass Medal.
There were also several significant accomplishments in 2011 for Gilchrist Hospice Care, including being recognized with the Circle of Life Award by the American Hospital Association; opening Gilchrist Center Howard County, the first-ever acute care inpatient hospice facility in Howard County and being recognized by FHSSA (formerly the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa) in honor of their work with its partner in Tanzania, Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital, to sustain quality palliative and end of life care in Africa.

I know there are lots of accomplishments that we’ve had throughout the year.  What others do you want to mention? Please share your thoughts below.

Happy Holidays

On behalf of the organization, I want to extend best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy holiday season for those celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah.  Enjoy your time with family members and think about the things that are important in your lives.  For those staff members working during the holidays, a special “thank you” for taking care of those who aren’t able to be at home during the holiday season. I am blessed to work with all in the GBMC family and I am very grateful for this. 

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