Friday, December 9, 2011

The Triple Aim … in Baltimore County

As frequent readers of this blog know, I’m a staunch advocate of the Triple Aim of Better Health, Better Care and Lower Cost.  And there’s a growing recognition on the part of many that if we are going to achieve the Triple Aim we need to move “upstream” from healthcare delivery.  We need a coordinated approach involving community agencies, the patient and the patient’s family.

That’s why I was glad to be asked by the Baltimore County Health Officer, William Branch, M.D., to participate in the Baltimore County Health Coalition whose charge is to write an action plan to focus on several significant health issues including cigarette smoking, childhood obesity and low birth weight. I volunteered to participate in the subgroup that is focusing on childhood obesity.  As a pediatrician by training, this issue holds special significance to me.

Our first childhood obesity subgroup meeting was Thursday and I look forward to working with professional colleagues and lay people in the community to help us achieve a healthier community.  Soon, the greater GBMC family will need to be in action on this initiative beyond our walls, since the healthcare system can only do so much, we need to rely on “buy in” and commitments from faith-based groups, educators, county agencies, etc.

One individual who is an incredibly strong advocate for such changes is Donald Berwick, M.D., a mentor to me early in my medical career who recently was forced out as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after about 17 months on the job. “A Healthcare Icon is Forced Out of Service to Our Country”

I had the wonderful opportunity to be among a team of GBMC leaders who earlier this week attended the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 23rd annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare, and who got to hear an incredible speech from Dr. Berwick just a week or so after his departure from CMS.

Carolyn Candiello, GBMC's Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety,
poses with Dr. Berwick at the IHI meeting.
Dr. Berwick noted that the Affordable Care Act was a majestic piece of legislation and reminded the 6,000 healthcare leaders from around the globe that in spite of his departure, CMS staff are still desperate and eager to be a part of the healthcare solution in this country. It was invigorating to again hear Dr. Berwick encourage us to reach for the Triple Aim and to see how he is rededicating himself to the goal of improving health, improving care and driving out waste and reducing costs to employers, governments and patients.

Of particular interest to me at the IHI meeting was seeing Cindy Ellis, BSN, RN, and Lynn Marie Bullock, DNP, RN, both members of GBMC’s Nursing Education team, who presented on a vital patient safety issue.

Cindy and Lynn Marie led a collaborative GBMC task force of frontline staff, pharmacists, nursing leaders, clinical engineering and information technologists who examined medication safety errors – which nationally cause 7,000 deaths per year – and found that by using smart infusion pump technology with safety software, IV medication errors are significantly decreased.  It was heartening to see their “Embracing the ‘Good Catch’” presentation on a national stage.
Dr Chessare (L) and John R. Saunders, Jr., M.D., GBMC's Chief Medical Officer,
with Cindy Ellis and Lynn Marie Bullock.
Holiday Decoration Safety and Celebrations

As you may have observed in walking around the hospital, there are no holiday decorations on the doors this year.  For many years, it was a holiday tradition for units to decorate the doors to their work areas, and volunteers would decide whose decorative inspirations had the most holiday spirit.  I had a great time last year going around the campus and helping judge the door decorations.

Contrary to some rumors around the campus, there is no “Scrooge” at GBMC this holiday season.  Rather, in order to ensure the safety of our staff, patients and visitors and follow Joint Commission protocols, we’ve had to eliminate the annual door decorating contest.

Environmental and safety rounds revealed physical damage to fire walls and doors and fire door closure mechanisms were de-activated due to decorations and tape. Fire alarm pull stations, fire extinguishers, sprinkler heads and medical air emergency shut off valves were also found to be obstructed by holiday decorations. So, to keep our patients and ourselves safe, we won’t be decorating doors this year.  Nontheless, I see many beautiful holiday decorations on our campus!

If you have questions regarding the GBMC Decorations Policy contact the Safety Department at safety@gbmc.org.

Holiday Spirit

We have many ways to get in the holiday spirit at GBMC, including our annual Employee Holiday Meal on Wednesday, December 14, which will be served from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (Dining Room &  Civiletti Conference Center) and from 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. – 1 a.m. (Dining Room only).

The GBMC Holiday Choir will be performing at the holiday meals at 12 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. in the Civiletti Conference Center and at 5:30 p.m. in the back of the cafeteria, as well as on December 19 in the OB Atrium Lobby at 12:30 p.m. and December 21 in the Main Lobby at 12:30 p.m.

Other festive holiday events include:

  • “In the Holiday Spirit” with Jim Albrecht on the keyboard, scheduled for December 14 at 12 noon in the OB Atrium, presented by The Elma Donovan Memorial Concert Series and GBMC Spiritual Support Services.
  • A traveling instrumental performance on December 21 by Robert Yin, M.D., GBMC gastroenterologist and friends, which will begin in GBMC's Physicians Pavilion East at 12 p.m. and make its way throughout the hospital spreading holiday cheer to employees, patients and visitors.
  • GBMC’s Asthma Sinus Allergy Program (ASAP) on the second floor of Physicians Pavilion North is a designated drop-off site for the United States Marines Corps Toys for Tots program.
  • Spiritual Support Services is coordinating adoption of more than 30 families through the auspices of the Assistance Center of Towson Churches.  Interested departments and individuals should contact Chaplain Joe Hart at x2056 if you would like to help.  Wrapped packages are due to be delivered to ACTC in Towson by December 20.
  • Volunteer Auxiliary Board members will be delivering poinsettias to patient rooms on Friday morning, December 23.

Do you have any special ways you celebrate the December holidays, or any ideas for how you would like to see GBMC HealthCare celebrate in the future? Please share your traditions and ideas below.  Also, please let me know how you are working on the Triple Aim in your community.

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