Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summertime Fun and a Celebration of Our People

Yesterday, we held our annual employee and volunteer BBQ, titled Camp GBMC HealthCare. This event was a great opportunity for all of the GBMC family to come together and celebrate what we have accomplished, while also having some fun! It is no secret that healthcare requires self-sacrifice and dedication and that the work is truly hard. We spend so much time working to achieve our vision, to provide the care to every patient, every time that we would want for our own loved ones, that at times we need to take a step back, reflect and celebrate what we have achieved, together as the GBMC team!

Everyone seemed to enjoy the music, the good food, camp-themed games, and having a relaxing time with friends and colleagues. I also noticed that there were several magnificent karaoke performers! Many enjoyed participating in or watching tug-of-war, Bingo, and the three-legged, potato sack, and egg and spoon races. It was a great opportunity to celebrate together and leave our work behind, even if only for an hour or so.

Our Philanthropy Team, led by Jenny Coldiron, our Human Resources Team, led by Anna-Maria Palmer, and our Marketing and Communications Team, led by Greg Shaffer, put on a fabulous BBQ! Special thanks to Kim Davenport from Marketing and Shannon Baumler from Philanthropy for their hard work on this event, beginning early in the morning and stretching all the way through the night shift. Lunches were delivered to offsite GBMA practices and Gilchrist homecare staff were given food coupons that they could use at their convenience. At 11 a.m., the barbecue began. Hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, BBQ chicken, watermelon, salads, and s'mores pops were served by Rouge Catering. The Kona Ice truck was on site providing shaved ice for a cool treat. We assembled again from 10 p.m. until midnight to BBQ and do some karaoke with the night shift staff.

This year, we hosted a fundraising tent called “Camp Hope,” where different departments hosted fundraising activities to benefit our Oncology program. The winners are announced in this week’s Pulse.

We also hosted a horse decorating contest, in which departments decorated papier-mâché horses to show support for Legacy Chase and the Oncology department. A huge thank you to all the departments, units, and practices who participated in the Camp Hope Legacy Chase Horse Decorating Contest! There were 34 horses submitted, and BBQ attendees voted on their favorites! Here are the winners in each category, pictured below clockwise: 

Legacy Chase Theme – Epic Team

Cancer Awareness Theme WINNER  – Oncology Clinical Trials

Cancer Awareness Theme RUNNER UP – (There were so many submissions and a close number of votes) – Inpatient Rehabilitation

Overall Theme – Oncology Support Services



All winners will receive a pizza party celebration.  Please contact Kim Davenport at kdavenport@gbmc.org to schedule.


All in all, we had a great day celebrating our employees! Check out the photos.

What do you think?


Friday, July 7, 2017

Spirit

I have had the good fortune of being away this week with my family. I have enjoyed seeing extended family members, celebrating Independence day and having fun. But everyone knows that the email does not stop coming.

I am very lucky to be the President of GBMC because the positive news hugely outweighs the negative. Among the messages I received this week was one from a GBMC colleague who had been admitted to the hospital after a holiday visit to her patient centered medical home. She was effusive in her praise of those who had served her.

Among the other messages was the notice that next week, July 9-15, is GBMC Spirit Week. This got me wondering about spirit. My first reaction was just how wonderful our marketing, human resources and philanthropy groups are. They are clever and tireless in their efforts to make the hard work of patient care and its associated tasks more rewarding and at times actually fun. I was then wondering which socks I would wear for ‘Crazy Sock Day’. (I don’t think that many who know me would be surprised by this. It is amazing how many comments I get at work if I am not wearing a dark suit, white shirt and a tie.) I also thought about karaoke at the barbecue this Wednesday….

But then my thoughts returned to my GBMC colleague who had been admitted to the hospital for July 4th. Her story awakened me to what spirit really is. Spirit is a rallying cry. It is what joins us together in our mission. Outside of work we have so many differences in our daily lives. But in the hospital, our physician offices or in a Gilchrist setting we are one Team. Teams are all imperfect because they are made up of humans who are imperfect. But spirit brings us together and makes us stronger together. Spirit helps us rejoice in our inherent differences and helps us see them as assets to make the Team richer and better. Spirit helps us look out for each other, celebrate together in good times and console each other and be resilient together in bad times.

So as I return to work I want to wish each and every one of my GBMC colleagues a Happy Spirit Week!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Titan Moves from Management to Governance

This coming Thursday (June 29), Dr. John Saunders will retire as the chief medical officer (CMO) of the GBMC HealthCare System.

John came to GBMC in 1979, as a fellow in head and neck surgery from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, to work with Drs. Robert Chambers and Darrell Jacques. He joined the medical staff and after 10 years in private practice, Dr. Saunders became the medical director of the Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head & Neck Center. Under John’s direction, the Dance Center became the premiere community-based program for head and neck cancer surgery and rehabilitation, and voice disorders.

John retired as an active surgeon in 2012. He served as GBMC's chief of staff from 2004 to 2010 and as interim Chief Executive Officer in 2010.

I was most fortunate when John agreed to take on the role of CMO in 2010 and has served in that capacity until this day. In his role as CMO, John has been responsible for the clinical quality of our healthcare system and has served as the designated institutional official (DIO) at GBMC for the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education, overseeing all of our residency programs and working closely with the Graduate Medical Education Committee.

We all know that John is an icon at GBMC. There is no more respected individual in our system than John Saunders. Patients know John Saunders as a great doctor with an outstanding bedside manner. Clinicians know him as an extremely talented surgeon, who was very calm in the most difficult situations. Residents and medical students knew him as an outstanding teacher who was always kind but firm. Members of the senior team know John for his wisdom, his insightful guidance, his wonderful sense of humor and his outstanding storytelling capabilities.

John and Carolyn Candiello, GBMC’s vice president for Quality and Patient Safety built an excellent structure that is second to none and both have overseen the cultural and performance change that has put GBMC in the quality limelight locally and nationally. John has presented patient stories monthly for seven years. These stories have educated many about the complexities of caring for patients and about a model to make things better.

Everyone knows John for his humility and self-deprecating humor. I have come to know John as an outstanding family man, who along with his wonderful wife, Betsy, have raised three great children and is now helping to raise his grandchildren. John plays the piano and at his retirement event I asked him to play a few numbers but he refused when I told him he had to play at least one Steely Dan song.

All kidding aside, John has become a dear friend and I will miss him on our senior team. I don’t know anyone who can imagine the GBMC HealthCare System without John Saunders. The good news is that John is not leaving us as he has agreed to continue to serve as a director on the GBMC HealthCare Board. Congratulations, John and thank you for everything you have done through the years for GBMC and our patients!

Cause For Celebration
Earlier this month, more than 300 cancer survivors, their caregivers, friends and family members celebrated life at our annual Cancer Survivorship Celebration.

Over the last 26 years, we’ve held this event for GBMC cancer patients and their caregivers as an opportunity for cancer survivors, loved ones and staff to join together, renew acquaintances and celebrate both survivors and their caregivers. It provides us the opportunity to commemorate our patients’ courage and our caregivers' commitment to their treatment. More than 2,000 individuals annually turn to the experts at The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute at GBMC when faced with potentially life-changing medical diagnoses. Our Berman Cancer Institute is not only locally recognized, but nationally as well and is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer.

The number of people who attend this event continues to grow. Congratulations to our survivors, their families, and our caregivers!

Happy 100th Anniversary! 

This year The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is celebrating its 100th Anniversary.

The AOTA, originally called the National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy, was created in 1917 by a small group of pioneers in the profession.Today, there are more than 213,000 occupational therapy practitioners nationwide that help people of all ages gain or maintain capabilities that help them live life to the fullest.

Our therapists and therapy assistants provide functionally oriented treatment that helps individuals of all ages after an injury, illness or medical procedure. Their work promotes healing, increases strength and endurance and teaches patients how to prevent further pain or injury. Their specialty care can help their patients achieve a higher level of independence.

I want to sincerely thank all the OTs and OTAs for their incredible work and for their unwavering dedication to our patients!

Remember to…
Don’t forget to RSVP for this year’s Employee & Volunteer Appreciation BBQ titled “CAMP GBMC Healthcare.” This year’s event, slated for Wednesday, July 12, will be a great opportunity for our staff and volunteers to come together to celebrate what we have accomplished, while also having some fun! Please join us! You have until Wednesday, July 5 to RSVP and can do so by clicking here. I look forward to seeing you there!

Happy Birthday to Us! 
Finally, I want to wish everyone in our GBMC family a safe and happy Independence Day. July 4th marks the birthday of our great country…the land of the free and the home of the brave. Let's take some time to reflect on what we can each do to make our country even better than it is today.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Running to Support Our Tiniest Patients

This past Sunday, I ran in our 29th annual Father’s Day 5K. This annual event, presented by the GBMC Volunteer Auxiliary, has raised funds for the NICU and has offered GBMC employees, volunteers, and the general public an opportunity to support our program. Over the past 28 years, the annual Father’s Day 5K has raised more than $1.75 million for the NICU.

We have a phenomenal NICU that achieves clinical outcomes as good or better than many bigger units. We have outstanding neonatologists, pediatricians and nurse practitioners. The staff includes incredibly talented and dedicated nurses and therapists. It is very expensive to staff the unit and keeps it updated with the latest equipment. The money raised by our annual Father’s Day Run is essential for the NICU. The event also creates greater awareness of the strengths of our program and the wonderful expertise and commitment of our NICU staff.

GBMC is a community-based system of care. The outpouring of community support at the race was incredible. It was great to see so many parents of former NICU babies, as well as so many dedicated members of the community and the GBMC staff, come out and run for this terrific cause.

I’m proud to report that this year’s event raised more than $127,000.00 for the NICU, which is phenomenal! I want to thank the close to 800 participants, who ran or walked, and who spent part of their Father’s Day with GBMC to help support the NICU babies and their families.

I also want to thank everyone involved in our community Wellness Fair which featured health-related vendors, as well as the “Baby Doll/Stuffed Animal Hospital” for injured dolls and bears to receive treatment and repairs as needed. Additionally, the MIX 106.5 Radio van was on-site playing music and sharing prizes. The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore was also present with fun animal friends for the kids’ area. Great work everyone!!!

GBMC Night at “The Yard”
I hope all of those who attended the GBMC Employee Night at Camden Yards, Tuesday evening, had a lot of fun. I was really pleased to see many of our people attend and enjoy time with their colleagues. The weather was really nice and what made the evening much better was the Orioles victory!

Friday, June 16, 2017

GBMC Recognized as a Leader in the Use of Information Technology to Improve Care

This week, we had guests from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) evaluating the GBMC HealthCare System on our use of electronic health records.Today, I am excited to announce that GBMC HealthCare has achieved Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) for our inpatient setting and on a provisional basis for our ambulatory services! I am confident that we will receive full ambulatory certification at Stage 7 soon.

The award is recognition for operating in a paperless environment and representing best practices in implementing electronic health records. As you know GBMC has been utilizing the Epic system since this past October.

EMRAM is a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic record systems and includes eight stages (0-7) that measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of IT to optimize the care that patients receive. Stage 7 represents the most advanced patient record environment. HIMSS Analytics developed the EMRAM as a tool to compare information technology maturity in health care organizations. Less than 5 percent of hospitals in the United States have achieved Stage 7 certification.

Make no mistake this accomplishment is due to the commitment and the hard work of the GBMC staff which includes our highly-skilled team of physicians, nurses, other clinicians and IT professionals. I want to thank all of my GBMC colleagues for this achievement. Deserving of special thanks are Dr. Fred Chan, our Chief Medical Information Officer, Cindy Ellis, Epic Project Director, Dave Hynson, GBMC’s Chief Information Officer, Chase Roberts, Finance/Operational Efficiencies Manager and Mary Swarts, the Epic Nurse Champion, who all played an integral role in getting us to this point.

Achieving this recognition is more evidence of our commitment to ‘one patient, one record.’ Without this, we cannot achieve our vision of being the community-based health system where every patient gets the care that we would want for our own loved ones.

We’re not perfect and there’s more work to be done. As we go into the Father’s Day weekend, please take a moment to be proud of what we have accomplished so far!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Finding the Time to Give to Others

Many of us take the blood supply for granted. If your loved one had just had a serious injury or needed blood because of a significant disease, you would expect that blood would be available for him or her. We are very fortunate that blood is available when our loved ones need it…but it doesn’t happen magically. It happens because of the Red Cross and many, many dedicated and caring people.

GBMC has always participated in blood drives. Back in 2011, we were not collecting as many units as we could and we were called to do more. Under the leadership of Kim Davenport, our Community Relations and Events Manager, we put on our improvement caps and changed our system. We have now had 6 years of excellent results, yesterday being no exception! We collected 99 units of whole blood in a time of year when it is difficult to get people to donate.



I am so proud of the work of Kim and other GBMC volunteers who work closely with the Red Cross. When you see Kim, thank her for this great work and for helping GBMC to be leaders in blood donation. Also, if you are not currently giving, please consider this at our next drive.

Thank you!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Things did not go as they should. What did we learn?

We have been using the technique of  Lean Daily Management (LDM) now for four years. We started using LDM to accelerate improvement toward our vision of being the healthcare system where every patient, every time, gets the best health outcome and the best care experience with the least waste of resources and the most joy for those providing the care. LDM is designed to create a family of focused problem solvers. LDM, therefore, requires curiosity – the desire to know what actually happened. 

Thanks to the hard work of our pharmacists and nurses, we have much fewer “missing” medications than we used to. Our nurses and pharmacists work so hard and it is frustrating to them when a nurse goes to give a medication to a patient and the medication can’t be found on the unit. The nurse must then alert the pharmacy that he or she doesn’t have the medication and the pharmacy must stop what they are doing and send the missing dose to the floor.

We use the term defect to describe this situation. What should happen is the nurse goes to give a medication ordered by the physician or advanced practitioner and verified by the pharmacist and finds it where it should be and then administers it. If the nurse doesn’t find it on the unit, it’s a defect. We record defects in red on the LDM chart. When a defect occurs, the learner says to himself or herself: “That’s interesting, I wonder how this happened?” This is where the curiosity comes in and the learning starts. The learner must think like a detective or engineer and go and see what happened. The learner knows that the more time that passes the harder it will be for him or her to get the facts right. (By the way, as we have said in the past: red is not bad. Red is an opportunity for learning in order to get it right the next time. If we do not learn, the defect will come back. Not learning is what should be thought of as bad!)

When I started in healthcare, the prevalent thought was: “The medication should be here but it isn’t …who screwed up?” This approach to defects assumes that there is someone who doesn’t know what they are doing or doesn’t care to do their job right. This rarely is the reason behind a defect in a big complex system like the modern American hospital. The answer to the, ‘how did this happen?’, question is almost always that there were multiple system failures. The person trying to figure it out will only do so by asking a number of questions of those involved and/or by trying to reproduce the problem. It is in the study of the defect that we find opportunities to fix the problem. We can then test our fixes to see if they make the system more reliable. Our pharmacists and nurses have done this so well that we have many fewer calls to the pharmacy for missing medications. Let’s all become more curious about defects in whatever our work is to drive GBMC towards its vision faster!

Get some exercise on Father’s Day for a great cause!
Another fundraiser for the GBMC HealthCare system is coming up in a few weeks – on Sunday, June 18th, we’re holding the 29th Annual GBMC Annual Father’s Day 5K & 1 Mile Fun Walk on our GBMC campus to benefit the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  This is a wonderful event where former NICU babies, families, staff members, community supporters and friends come out to have some fun and support our NICU.

Over the past 28 years, the annual Father’s Day 5K & 1 Mile Fun Walk has raised more than $1.75 million for the NICU. We operate a strong NICU with excellent clinicians, great care, and the latest equipment. With 12 rooms in the NICU, there is always equipment that needs updating, new technologies to incorporate and resources critical for these more fragile babies, who require 24/7 care. But again this fundraising effort helps a great deal.

There’s still time to register and support this wonderful event. Click here for all the information. I’ll be out there running, so please come join me! Remember that your support will touch more than 500 critically ill and premature babies cared for annually in GBMC’s NICU.

If you’re planning to participate in the Father’s Day 5K & 1 Mile Fun Walk, please feel free to share your story of why you help fundraise for GBMC.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Have we made the U.S. healthcare system safer?

There is a lot of evidence that patients are safer in American hospitals and health systems since the publication of the report from the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) in 2000, To Err is Human. We have significantly reduced harm in the form of iatrogenic infections, falls, retained foreign objects and many others. To see how GBMC has done, you can go to our public website: www.gbmc.org/quality.

But it is clear that we still have work to do. Other high-risk industries, like nuclear power, commercial aviation, or the French high-speed rail system have error rates in the less than 1 per million range. The U.S. healthcare system still has rates in the 1 per hundred to 1 per 10,000 range. We can and must get even safer.

Dr. Donald Berwick, the President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) gave the keynote address at the 19th annual National Patient Safety Foundation Patient Safety Congress. He applauded those who have generated these real improvements but he pointed out that we still have a lot to do. He listed seven areas of concern that health care leaders should pay attention to in the effort to continue the progress of the patient safety movement. They are in Dr. Berwick’s words:

1. Displacement by other concerns: "As we go to boardrooms around the U.S. and hear what is being discussed, there are two topics: a changing reimbursement system and workforce morale. I personally believe there’s a strong connection between safety and cost reduction, but that conviction hasn’t been firmly established in 20 years."
2. Illusion of completeness: "There’s an illusion that we’ve worked on safety — 'here are our scores on central line infections, pressure ulcers and here’s what’s happening on medication reconciliation' — on to the next problem. The concept of safety as a box-checking enterprise, where we start and finish, is lethal to patients of the future."
3. Incentive theory: "Most of the workforce is already trying as hard as it can. Until we become scientists and give up the incentive-oriented approach to safety, we won’t make the systemic progress we have been calling on for years."
4. Metrics glut: "In pursuit of incentives, we’ve glutted ourselves with metrics. I think we are way beyond a level of toxicity. It's not just safety.  We have to go on a diet."
5. Separation of safety from quality: "When people say 'quality and safety,' what I hear is 'fruit and bananas.' Quality improvement is the big tent. It’s the enterprise of constant improvement to everything we care about. The quality of my car is dimensional. It has safety, durability and fuel economy and so does health care. I think reuniting our endeavors is crucial to our future. We don’t have the resources to waste on tribalism. We have to think systemically."
6. System literacy: "We need to become literate about the systemic properties that produce improvement."
7. Academic attacks: "I’m not sure why, but I deeply regret that academic students who position themselves outside the safety movement have all too often become critics. Until our academic brethren join in the progression of safety instead of positioning themselves as critics of the good-hearted work going on, they’ll be riding the breaks."
We at GBMC will stay focused on our vision phrase and every day we will work to measurably improve the patient’s health outcome and her care experience while driving out the waste and increasing the joy for those providing the care.

THANK YOU to our Information Technology colleagues!
Ten days ago, a major cyber-attack brought disruption to the health system in England forcing many hospitals and doctors’ offices to turn away patients and cancel appointments. People in affected areas were being advised to seek medical care only in emergencies. As a result, the United States and countries around the world sought to manage the spread of the "WannaCry" ransomware attack immediately.  That was also the case here at GBMC.

Dave Hynson, GBMC’s Chief Information Officer, and his team went to work immediately to diminish risk as much as possible by implementing the most current Microsoft security updates, and best practices as defined by our vendor partners. They also did an excellent job of informing the GBMC HealthCare user community by asking them to be vigilant with unknown or suspicious attachments.

All of the patching was accomplished by Monday (May 15) afternoon, including our Citrix servers and systems for which Microsoft made a patch available. As of today, we still ask GBMC staff to continue to be vigilant regarding all email and help to ensure that GBMC remains safe from a cyber-attack.

I want to thank Dave and his team for all their hard work in addressing the issues and keeping us on normal operations.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Time To Reflect On Our Outstanding Nurses

This week is National Nurses Week (May 6 – May 12) – the time of the year where we thank our nurses for all that they do. Being a nurse is very taxing work. It is physically demanding and the expectations on them get greater all the time. We expect our nurses to maintain their competency with ever increasing diagnostic and treatment options that get more and more complex by the year. We also expect them to treat everyone with kindness and compassion even in the most challenging situations- like an Emergency Department full of behavioral health patients who can’t get out because there is no place for them to safely go.

GBMC HealthCare nurses meet this challenge daily and I’m always amazed at how they keep coming back. Why?  Because of their dedication to helping others in their time of need.

In honor of Nurses Week, a former patient posted words of gratitude, on her Facebook page (pic right), on how the nurses cared for her during a near death experience. This is just one, of the many patient stories, that reminds me how fortunate we are to have a remarkable and dedicated nursing staff, in the hospital, in our physician practices, in patients’ homes, and in our inpatient hospice units. Please join me in thanking them.

Sunday also marked the beginning of National Hospital Week, the celebration of which dates back to the early 1920s. According to the American Hospital Association, the week is “a celebration of the history, technology and dedicated professionals that make our facilities beacons of confidence and care.” At all hours of the day and night, all year long, our team of parking lot attendants, grounds crew, patient access reps, and billing staff, to transporters, environmental services workers, food service workers, security personnel, social workers, care managers, advanced practitioners, physicians, nurses, therapists, volunteers, and all other non-clinical and administrative employees to serve our community in our mission of health, healing and hope.

So, as we observe National Hospital Week, I want to sincerely thank all the members of our staff, Board of Directors and volunteers and everyone who has helped us improve our care and make our system more reliable to move us closer to our vision: to every patient, every time, we will provide the care that we would want for our own loved ones.

PARTY ON!!!!
Last night, I had the privilege of attending the second annual Art of Nursing celebration. This was a special evening for our nursing staff, as we formally celebrated all that our incredible nurses give to GBMC and our patients. We highlighted the seven winners of the 2017 Art of Nursing Awards. They are:
Diversity in Nursing Award – Anton Panuela, BSN, RN
Clinical Assistant Support Award (Inpatient Award) – Dorothy Alexander, NST
Clinical Assistant Support Award (Outpatient Award) -- Irene Irby, CNA and Shartiya Boykin, Lead MA
Patient-and Family-Centered Care Award – Alexis Schultz, BSN, RN
Nursing Evidence-Based Practice Award – Rosalyn Berkowitz, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P
Mrs. H. Norman Baetjer Jr. Nursing Graduate of the Year Award – Almina Hrbinic, RN
Nurse Clinician of the Year Award – Rachel Ridgely, BSN, RN, CCRN

Congratulations to the winners and all those who were nominated!

I also would like to thank everyone involved in our very successful Art of Nursing celebration, especially our Marketing and Communications team and our Philanthropy team.

America’s Most Amazing Nurse Is In Our Hospital!
Speaking of our great nurses, and one who truly incorporates our vision is Laura Clary, manager of our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination & Domestic Violence Programs. Earlier today, during a very festive occasion in our Yaggy Atrium, Laura was announced, on The Doctors TV Show, as the winner of Prevention magazines nationwide search to find America’s Most Amazing Nurse.

Since November, Prevention magazine and The Doctors have joined efforts in a search across the country to find America’s Most Amazing Nurse. Each entrant or nominee had to have an active RN license or advanced nursing credential and must have been currently working in the nursing field. Laura was nominated by her husband and selected over hundreds of applicants and four other finalists because of her compassion, commitment, and expert care.

Our SAFE program cares for patients across the lifespan, with our oldest patient being 98 and our youngest under one-year-old. We have expanded the program, thanks to Laura, to not only care for adult victims of sexual assault but also victims of child abuse, human trafficking, intimate partner violence and non-fatal strangulation.

Barbara O'Dair, editor-in-chief of Prevention Magzine, said this about Laura: "Her extraordinary work embodies the true spirit of nursing." Laura is truly an example of how powerful nurses really are and how they're strong advocates in addition to being devoted and comforting caregivers.

We hope Laura’s honor inspires people in our community to acknowledge and appreciate the incredible contributions nurses, like Laura and her team, make in our communities every single day.

Congratulations Laura!  This recognition is truly well deserved!

Golfing for a good cause…
On Monday, the sun made an appearance and the weather was just right for the 29th Annual GBMC Golf Classic at the Turf Valley Country Club.  Over 200 golfers teed up to help raise funds for the GBMC HealthCare system.

I had a great time playing with John Maroon, CEO and founder of Maroon PR; Harry S. Johnson, former chair of the GBMC HealthCare Board of Directors, and an attorney with Whiteford, Taylor and Preston and Ronald M. Cherry, Esq, a partner in the law firm of Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata LLP.

It was clear that countless hours were spent preparing for this great day that grossed approximately $200,000 to benefit GBMC. Money from this year’s event will aid various initiatives including the John E. Savage Medical Library which provides the medical staff, patients, visitors, and members of our community the most up-to-date medical information; and the Continuing Medical Education Department which provides programs offering medical education for our attending physicians, nurses, resident physicians and allied health professionals.

A great time was had by all and it was evident that so many community members and supporters of GBMC are truly dedicated to our future success. I’m very grateful to everyone who helped us raise the money and everyone who came out to play. Kudos to the entire golf committee, led by Chairs Rob Stoltz MD and Lisa Goodlett, our Chief Financial Officer and to Jenny Coldiron and the GBMC Foundation staff, and many of our nurse leaders all of whom worked together for a great event!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Health Care Policy is Back in the Forefront

On Wednesday, I had the honor of participating in an internet broadcast, titled “The High Stakes of Health Care Policy,” which was hosted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The IHI is a leader in health and health care improvement worldwide and over the last 25 years, they’ve partnered with visionaries, leaders, and frontline practitioners to look at ways to improve the health of individuals and populations.

The program was hosted by Madge Kaplan, from the IHI, and I was joined by John E. McDonough, DrPH, MPA, professor of public health practice in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The interview focused on the newest threat for cutbacks on the protections to people provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), whether through legislation or regulation. Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act by a vote of 217-212. The future of the health care law still remains unclear as it now moves on to the Senate. The Republican proposal that is being debated would diminish the protection to people with preexisting conditions.

Since the passage of the ACA, our nations’ hospitals, physicians, nurses and the rest of the healthcare team have generated significant improvements in care. Medicare has seen the smallest annual per capita cost increases in its history. Employers, like GBMC, have also seen annual health care cost increases that have been much lower than they were before the federal government started incentivizing the movement from “volume” to “value.” Much of this is a direct result of the ACA and the agency it created: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Millions of Americans who did not have insurance before passage of the ACA now do and people who have preexisting conditions can now get insurance when before they could not.

No one disagrees that we must improve the part of the ACA that deals with the ability of individuals to purchase health insurance on the exchanges. Not enough healthy individuals are buying insurance, thereby making the premium cost go up for individuals to try to cover the cost of care for people who are already sick.

The President of the American Hospital Association, Rick Pollack released this message yesterday: “America’s hospitals and health systems are deeply disappointed in the House passage of the AHCA because it will jeopardize health coverage for millions of Americans.”

Despite last-minute changes, the proposal eliminates essential protections for older and sicker patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, such as cancer patients and the chronically ill. It does little to help the 24 million Americans who would be left without coverage following repeal and makes deep cuts to Medicaid, which provides essential services for the disabled, poor and elderly people in this country.

As the backbone of our nation’s health safety net, America’s hospitals and health systems — which include more than 270,000 affiliated physicians and 2 million nurses and other caregivers — believe it’s vital that Medicaid is protected.

We urge the Senate to restart and reset the discussion in a manner that provides coverage to those who need it and ensures that the most vulnerable are not left behind.”

So, what will the Senate do? Every major healthcare organization, including the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association, have come out against the Republican bill.

I am one of those people who believe that health care is a right. In order to guarantee this right, however, those of us in health care positions of authority must drive the system toward the Triple Aim of better health and better care at lower cost, and the ACA has been helping us do this.

I participated in the interview to highlight the GBMC story and how federal incentives and initiatives brought about by the ACA have contributed to our recent success. I am glad to help in this endeavor by discussing our commitment to the transformation of the delivery system to better manage chronic disease and to prevent disease in those who are healthy.  I am hoping many more healthcare leaders join me and help in our fight to maintain health insurance access for all.  If you are interested in listening to the webcast, please click here.

Congrats to Dr. Sternlicht…
Jeffrey P. Sternlicht, MD, FACEP, chairman of our Department of Emergency Medicine, was recently appointed by Governor Larry Hogan’s office as a member of the Maryland Behavioral Health Advisory Council. This council consists of 28 members (or designees) representing state and local government, the Judiciary, and the Legislature along with 13 members, appointed by the DHMH Secretary, representing behavioral health provider and consumer advocacy groups; and 14 representatives that include a diverse range of individuals who are consumers, family members, professionals, and involved community members.

Improving Maryland’s behavioral health system is very important to Dr. Sternlicht and I am sure that he will bring new energy and ideas to the council.  Congrats again Dr. Sternlicht and thank you for your service!

Mark your calendars...
With the Monday, May 8th deadline right around the corner, I wanted to kindly remind you all to do your part and complete our annual Employee Engagement Survey. The survey can easily be accessed through the icon on any GBMC desktop computer (see pic on right).

So far, OVER 60 percent of our colleagues have responded. We need your opinion! The survey is anonymous to GBMC and confidential. We work with a third party vendor, Press Ganey, who compiles survey data for us. We at GBMC never see individual responses.

Please make your voices heard and complete the survey so that we can identify opportunities for further improvement, to judge the value of changes we made since the last survey and to make GBMC an even better place to work and a safer health system for our patients.  Thank You!

Also, don’t forget to be part of the festivities on Friday, May 12th, starting at 8:30 AM at the Yaggy OB Atrium, as we watch and find out if our very own Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN, is named “America’s Most Amazing Nurse” by Prevention magazine on The Doctors TV show. Prevention and The Doctors received thousands of entries from across the country. We’re are really proud to have Laura as one of just five finalists. Click here to RSVP. We’re setting up a screen in the Yaggy OB Atrium so everyone can be part of the fun. Light refreshments will be provided. Regardless of the outcome, I agree with senior vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer (CNO), JoAnn Z. Ioannou,
DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, that we have the most amazing nursing staff in the country!

Friday, April 28, 2017

GBMC is Grateful for its Fabulous Community Support

Earlier this week, I attended our annual Donor Recognition Dinner and was honored to spend time with patients and their families, donors, members of the GBMC, Gilchrist and the Joseph Richey House boards, philanthropy committee members and volunteer auxiliary members. Their gifts of time and treasure is truly invaluable to us.



During the dinner, I listened intently to the very powerful patient and family stories because they underlined all of the great work our system does for our patients and the community.  I am not just saying this just because I am proud, but because I truly believe that we have great physicians, nurses and other staff and volunteers who are always there to serve with their expertise and compassion to help patients and their families in bad times and celebrate with them in good times. Premiering at the dinner was also our “famous” Carpool Karaoke video. Click here to watch GBMC HealthCare team members performing with GBMC volunteer and former news anchor Don Scott. The video tells why these employees love working at GBMC HealthCare and also says thanks to our valuable donors.

I am very grateful that our donors have chosen to give financial assistance to support our mission. The programs and services, highlighted during the dinner, would not be possible without their gifts. Programs like SAFE (more below) and our child life program are entirely funded by donations. Gilchrist would not have been able to expand their programming to children and their families, or to the neediest in the inner city of Baltimore without donor support. The medical staff would not have unlimited access to the on-line evidence and decision support service, Up-to-Date, without their gifts.

I want to thank you all for investing not just financially, but supporting our team in other ways and allowing us to continue providing care during these challenging times as an independent, community owned and controlled healthcare system. We are grateful to all of you for being a part of the GBMC family and hope you will continue to make GBMC a philanthropic priority.

Thank You to Our Volunteers – National Volunteer Appreciation Week 2017
This week we are celebrating National Volunteer Appreciation Week. As you may know, with more than 900 volunteers in the hospital and at Gilchrist Hospice Care, GBMC has one of the largest volunteer auxiliaries in Maryland. National Volunteer Week was created in 1974 when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration focusing on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership.

Over the last 51 years, our volunteers have donated approximately three million hours of service and raised more than 22 million dollars to support patient care at GBMC! Volunteering is an honorable choice that these special men and women have made for the GBMC HealthCare system. And so at this time of year, we’re proud to highlight our volunteers’ role in improving our patients’ care.

When you meet a GBMC or Gilchrist volunteer this week please take the time to say “thank you” for all they do.

…And it's Medical Laboratory Professionals Week!
This week is also Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. GBMC is so lucky to have the most highly reliable laboratory that I have ever seen. We are blessed with outstanding pathologists, technicians, phlebotomists, managers, administrative personnel and others on the Team. If you don’t believe me, click here to read the story on how one of our medical technologists was instrumental in saving the life of one our patients.  They are truly unsung heroes who we sometimes take for granted. Thanks to our lab personnel for all that they do!

Helping our SAFE & DV programs… 
I want to thank everyone who participated in our second Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®:  The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. We had about 280 participants and we raised approximately $42,000 for our SAFE and Domestic Violence programs. Last Saturday, male and female participants walked a mile around GBMC’s campus in high heels (or red tennis shoes) to shed light on and show support for an extremely important issue for women and men of all ages.

Registered nurses in GBMC’s SAFE program are specifically trained and certified by the Maryland Board of Nursing to provide care for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence of all ages in a confidential, non-judgmental atmosphere. At no cost to the patient, these nurses focus on re-empowering survivors to begin the healing process, in addition to working toward ending Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence in the community.

We understand the necessity of our Walk a Mile event and I am proud that GBMC continues to be a leader in helping the victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and in educating the community to reduce these attacks. I want to thank the GBMC Foundation office, our Volunteer Auxiliary and all parties who worked together to make this year’s event another success!

GBMC Is Well Represented In This Year’s Daily Record’s Top 100 Women
I am proud to announce that four influential women in the GBMC family were honored by The Daily Record as Top 100 Women. Bonnie B. Stein, Dr. Robin Motter-Mast, Dr. Michele Shermak and Faith Thomas (pic. from left to right) were all honored for being exemplary citizens, for exhibiting a commitment to their community, and for actively participating in future leader mentoring. Dr. Motter-Mast is a primary care physician with our GBMA Hunt Manor Medical Group and the Medical Director of our Primary Care Group; Dr. Shermak is a board certified plastic surgeon and a member of the GBMC medical staff; Bonnie. Stein is the chairperson of the GBMC Board of Directors and Faith Thomas is a member of the GBMC Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee.  Bonnie was also inducted into the Daily Record’s Circle of Excellence, which means that she has achieved this award three separate times. Within the last year, Megan Maguire Priolo, Chief Operating Officer of GBHA, was selected as one of the publication’s Leading Women: Maryland’s Future. Congrats to all!

Nice Work!...
What an enjoyable afternoon we had this past Sunday at the first Spring Jazz Brunch to benefit Gilchrist Center Baltimore – Joseph Richey House.  Hosted at the Eubie Blake Jazz and Cultural Center in the city, 150 guests enjoyed good food and great jazz music provided by the Ian Sims quartet.  Most importantly, they learned the story of the Joseph Richey House and their dedication to serving the city’s most vulnerable residents.  We sold out this event and raised $65,000 which is critical funding for this 19-bed residential hospice.  I am grateful to everyone who supported the jazz brunch and helped us recognize the Joseph Richey House’s 30th year of service.




Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our Amazing Nurses Are Recognized..AGAIN!!!

Last week, I talked about our very own Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN, clinical program manager of our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) program, who cares for victims of sexual assault, child abuse, rape, human trafficking, intimate partner violence, and domestic violence, and who was featured on the show The Doctors. Laura is ONE of FIVE finalists for the show’s and Prevention Magazine’s America’s Most Amazing Nurse.

This week, I am happy to announce that several members of the GBMC HealthCare's nursing staff have been named to Baltimore Magazine’s "Top Nurse" list as part of the magazine's annual Excellence in Nursing issue. I am proud to say that the GBMC family was well represented with SEVEN of our registered nurses being recognized by their peers for outstanding care in SIX of 19 different specialties.  Having such a high number of our nurses represented (14% of the winners!) on this list is evidence of what we already knew – our HealthCare system has the best nurses!


To compile the names for the city’s Top Nurses list, Baltimore Magazine had solicited nominations from peers, supervisors, and patients of registered nurses, who represent the finest in their field and we received an overwhelming response.

There were 19 nursing specialties for which the magazine accepted nominations in a process that took several months. The nominations were then tallied by the publication. The magazine was assisted by the Maryland Nurses Association and major local hospitals to create an impressive panel of R.N. advisors, who divvied up the specialties, reviewed the nominations and selected the winners.

Having such a high percentage of the winners be our nurses is a testament to their expertise and their commitment to our vision. This is truly great recognition for GBMC HealthCare and its exceptional nursing staff.  Please join me in congratulating the following nurses:

Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Educator: Chelsea Woodell
Intensive Care: Amanda Gdula and Brian Bardelman
Oncology: Karen Ulmer
Pediatrics, Neonatal: Hollie Krout
Women’s Health: Evelyn Kim

Gilchrist
Hospice/Home Health/Palliative Care: Ellen Metzger

The third annual “top nurses” issue hits the newsstands on Friday, Apr. 28. Don’t forget to pick up your copy!

Speaking of Baltimore Magazine: Physicians….It's that time again when Baltimore Magazine is collecting votes for its Top Doctors issue. Let’s see if we can make it two years in a row for a GBMC doctor to be the physician cover for this year’s issue. Docs, please vote for the colleagues you most respect! The survey may be found at: http://www.baltimoremagazine.com/about/top-doctors-survey



Way To Go Dr. Whiteford!!!


Kudos to Dr. Sarah Whiteford of GBMC’s Family Care Associates for being named as the “Best Family Physician” in The Baltimore Sun’s Best of Baltimore Readers’ Choice poll. Honestly, I am not surprised as Dr. Whiteford truly epitomizes our mantra of better health and better care for our community and our commitment to the neighborhoods we serve that is echoed through the work our primary care teams do each day. We are truly honored to have Baltimore put their trust in us and we praise Dr. Whiteford on her selection.


Tree of Life at GBMC
On Wednesday, we unveiled a new artwork installation, the ‘Tree of Life', during a special commemorative event to remember and honor the lives of those that have given the ultimate gift of themselves and to celebrate the new lives of those who were the beneficiaries of that priceless gift.

We often hear about organ and tissue donation in terms of statistics and numbers. Currently, there are over 120,000 people nationally who are waiting for a life-saving organ and each day 110 people are added to the national waiting list. One tissue donor has the potential to enhance over 50 lives and one organ donor has the potential to save eight lives.

Organ donation has saved countless lives and improved many others, and those gifts will be forever celebrated at the GBMC HealthCare system. For the 16 individuals who are now memorialized with their own leaves on our tree of life, their impact can never truly be measured by stats or figures.

Current and future donor families will receive a 3D leaf with their loved one’s name on it.
We are grateful to those who have donated their organs and tissues. We are also grateful to their families for their strength and courage in allowing us to share your loved one’s name in the hope that it may inspire others to do the same. Please note that if you are interested in registering to become an organ donor, the ‘Tree of Life’ includes a kiosk where anyone can sign up to be a donor.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Mourning The Passing Of One Of Our Leaders

Over the weekend, I was saddened to learn of the passing of our Chair of the GBMC HealthCare Philanthropy Committee, Mr. Samuel Heffner. 

Sam was a successful commercial developer of properties throughout the region and he was known as a bold and determined leader, with a passion for philanthropy and the Baltimore community. His high standards along with his focus and commitment to charity led him to be named Chair of the GBMC HealthCare Philanthropy Committee.With Sam’s guidance, our GBMC Philanthropy team has had consecutive record-breaking years for fundraising. Sam moved the Committee to a sub-committee model and got many members in action generating gifts. 

On a personal note, Sam was very helpful to me and taught me a lot about the role of the CEO in engaging the community in giving to GBMC. I will miss him.   

GBMC HealthCare is thankful for Sam Heffner’s leadership, steadfast confidence and belief in our vision of providing the care we would want for our own loved ones. We will remain deeply indebted to him for his guidance and support.

Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard 
Please complete our annual Employee Engagement Survey. The survey is open through Monday, May 1 and can easily be accessed through the icon (on the right) on any GBMC desktop computer or click here. It will only take a few minutes to complete and it will provide valuable information on how we can make our company an even better place to work. 

The survey is completely CONFIDENTIAL, and your individual responses to the questions will not be shared! If you do, however, choose to include additional comments, these will be shared with your manager but your name will not be given. The survey is administered by Press Ganey, who compiles the survey data for us. We at GBMC never see individual responses.  All employees will receive feedback on the survey results and action plans will be developed on the basis of your responses. Please be assured that we will respond constructively to employee concerns and suggestions.

If you have any questions about the survey, please call your Human Resource Business Partner.

Please complete the survey. Thanks!

The Doctors
Back in November 2016, it was announced that Prevention Magazine and the TV Show The Doctors were joining efforts in a search across the country to find America’s Most Amazing Nurse. Each entrant or nominee had to have an active RN license or advanced nursing credential and must currently be working in the nursing field. Other qualifications include: exceeds the standards for excellence in nursing care, education, or research, viewed as a role model and/or mentor in their workplace or community and has used their nursing skills to serve their country, volunteer for a non-profit organization, or otherwise provide care to those in need.


Tune in to The Doctors this Thursday, April 13 at 9 a.m. on WMAR-TV (ABC—Balt.) to see GBMC's own Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN, as she talks about her work as the Clinical Program Manager of our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) program. We think you'll be excited to find out why she's being featured!

Please check your local cable and satellite TV provider for channel designation.

Happy Holidays
Finally, this is a week of religious reflection and celebration.  The GBMC HealthCare family sends its best wishes to our Christian staff members celebrating Easter this Sunday and our Jewish staff members observing the eight-day festival of Passover.

Friday, April 7, 2017

What if this were your daughter?

The GBMC Healthcare System is always working toward our vision of treating everyone, every time the way that we would want our own loved ones treated.

We discuss what this means frequently. It is clear that everyone wants their loved one to get better. This requires us to use the best evidence in our care. GBMC is improving on every measure of health outcome so we are moving closer to this aim.

But the second most important thing we want is the best possible care experience and this is much harder. We want our loved ones to be well informed by people who care; we don’t want long waits and delays; and we want the care in a clean, respectful environment. It is hard to always be kind and to look out for the emotional needs of every one of our patients. We get busy and we are focused on the evidence-based care and sometimes we don’t give the best experience. Well, let me tell you about an episode at GBMC that was marked by kindness and the patient’s mother took to social media to inform the community!

The mother of a three-year-old patient, who had surgery here last week, posted on her Facebook page what a great experience she and her daughter had. She attributed their positive experience to the kindness and caring shown by Francoise “Frannie” St. Juste, one of our Nursing Support Technicians (NST) in pre-op. The mother wrote that Frannie had been “amazing” with her daughter and had gone “way above and beyond” and that she would be “forever grateful.” Just look at the photos that the mom included in her post demonstrating the kindness of Frannie as she distracted the little girl from the fear of having surgery! According to her supervisor, Ginyse Braddy, “she (Frannie) always goes above and beyond with her patients and truly is a valuable team member.”

I want to thank all of the GBMC family for improving the care experience for every one of our patients. It often starts with kindness and Frannie clearly demonstrated this to one little girl and her mother.

Thank you for your hard work and please let me know what you think.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Doctors' Day: Time to say thank you for all that they do for us

Today is National Doctors' Day - the day we reflect on the many contributions made by our physicians. I want to thank all the doctors on the GBMC medical staff who work extremely hard to care for patients as they would want their own loved ones cared for. We have a wonderful medical staff who give of themselves and make a tremendous difference in the lives of patients every day. I am glad that at least one day a year we reach out and thank physicians for what they do all year.

To celebrate Doctors' Day at GBMC, we had a Buffet Breakfast-to-Go earlier this morning, and physicians in attendance were given an air refresher for their car and a FREE car wash as a token of our gratitude. Physicians who were not in attendance can order a gift card for the car wash, until Saturday, Apr. 15, by visiting www.gbmc.org/docsdaycarwash. Later this afternoon, we are holding an ice cream social in the physicians’ lounge as another way to show our appreciation for all that they do.

The superior care provided by our medical staff, is certainly evident in the more than 120 GBMC physicians, in 74 unique specialties, who were recognized in Baltimore magazine’s 2016 Top Doctor’s list. This recognition also demonstrates just how good they are since the award comes from the votes of their peers.

I’ve been so blessed to work with so many outstanding physician colleagues over the years. I have valued their insights on our community’s health needs, their candor and innovation in finding workable solutions, and their commitment to improving the health and well-being of all we serve. So, in tribute to our physicians, I thought it fitting that we share the following video:


While as a nation we are experiencing challenging times in health care, the medical staff at GBMC remains committed to our vision.

So, to all of our physicians, we say thank you! In honor of Doctors' Day and your physician, please share your thoughts and inspiring stories of patient care here…

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Three Year Checkup for the Patient Centered Medical Home at GBMC

I am a pediatrician and all good pediatricians know the importance of checking the child’s development at regular intervals. So, you may remember that I interviewed a few patients on their perception of our advanced primary care patient-centered medical homes three years ago and included the interviews in the blog.

http://ahealthydialogue.blogspot.com/2014/03/what-do-our-patients-really-think-about.html   
Well, I think it’s time for another checkup.

The patient- centered medical home is our design for being accountable along with the patient for his or her health. We began building them when we created our transformational vision in 2011. At that time, we knew that we had to change our design of primary care if we wanted a different outcome. We wanted everyone to get what we wanted for our loved ones: the best health outcome with the best care experience at the lowest cost (with the least waste) and with the most joy for those providing the care.

So now in 2017, what do our patients think about our patient-centered medical homes?

Earlier this week, I interviewed Dale Cernik. For more than a year now, Dale has been a patient of Dr. Peter Burkill and his team’s nurse care manager, Anne R. Conrad, at Family Care Associates, our advanced primary care office in the North Pavilion on the GBMC campus. Dale, 66, came to us with symptoms of increased thirst and urination. He said that “basically I felt like my body was out of sync.” There was no history of diabetes in his family, but Dale did have a history of high blood pressure.

Dr. Burkill diagnosed Dale with diabetes and he prescribed medication and connected Dale with Anne. She began to check in with Dale by phone two times per week to make sure that the symptoms were improving and that Dale understood and was following his diet and exercise plan. Dale made lifestyle changes and followed the plan.Today, Dale’s blood sugar levels are normal, his high blood pressure is under control and he is now exercising six times a week!  Dale now feels that because of the care he has received from Anne and Dr. Burkill he’s been able to get his life back.

We had a nice conversation and Mr. Cernik made it a point of letting me know how happy he was to tell his story and how the “FCA staff is professional, kind and caring and how everybody is sincere in their actions.”

Click the video below to hear what else Dale had to say about his care from the team at Family Care Associates.





I am so proud of Dr. Burkill, Anne and the rest of the FCA team including the care coordinators, medical assistants, and patient service assistants. They are all willing to be held accountable to working with patients, like Dale, to help them improve their health.

I think our patient-centered medical home passed the checkup with flying colors!

I want to also express my gratitude to Mr. Cernik for sharing his experiences and story with me. The GBMC HealthCare System is moving closer to our vision of providing to every patient, every time, the care that we would want for our own loved ones.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Highlighting Our Work When It Comes To Patient Safety

This week is National Patient Safety Awareness Week and for this reason, I want to take the time to recognize the important achievements we as a healthcare system have made when it comes to the safety of our patients. I’ve asked Carolyn L. Candiello, Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety with GBMC HealthCare, to be a guest blogger this week. I hope the readers of this blog will find Carolyn’s observations on our patient safety work as illuminating as I did. 

Carolyn writes….

This Sunday, marked the beginning of National Patient Safety Awareness Week.  This year’s theme is “We are all Patients!” and if you think about it, it’s very much in line with our own vision – that we treat everyone the way we would want to be treated.

As I reflect on this week, I think it is a good time to pause and consider what we all (nurses, techs, providers, support staff, volunteers, and leaders) have accomplished so far and to recommit to following safe practices for patient safety. Earlier this month, The Joint Commission issued their 57th Sentinel Event Alert which discusses the essential role of leadership in patient safety. I am so proud to be part of an organization where safety starts at the highest level. In 2010, our Board of Directors made a commitment to improve patient safety and together we have all been working tirelessly to achieve highly reliable care for our patients! 

The results have been remarkable --in 2011, GBMC had 21 serious safety events. So far, in FY 2017 we have had one.  We have seen other improvements just as remarkable – reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections from one every week to just under one every other month.  Having gone over a year without an event, I consider that we have virtually eliminated serious hospital-acquired pressure ulcers, ventilated associated complications, infections related to hip and knee replacements and are well on our way to achieving reliability in many other areas. This didn’t happen by “wishing and hoping” it happened as a result of several changes we made.

1. We adopted a Just Culture – a firm belief that every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.  When errors happen, our focus is not on the individual, BUT on the system and how we can fix our processes.
2. We adopted a Reporting Culture– we believe that it is important for each of us to speak up when something isn’t right and to report incidents of harm.  One of our goals for a few years was to increase reporting into Quantros!  We went from receiving only a handful of incidents each month to receiving hundreds!  We encourage everyone, regardless of position, to report incidents of harm or potential harm.
3. We have adopted a Learning Culture - We are open and transparent about learning from our experiences. We openly share our data with our community on our website.  When there is learning from our LDM report, we share it in the daily email.  Each week we share deeper learning in the Tuesday Pearl of Wisdom. Three years ago, we started Great Save Wednesdays where not only do we share learning, we highlight safe behaviors by so many of our front line staff.  Each month we share learning in the form of a patient story – the story is told at leadership and board meetings and is available on the Infoweb.  Every manager is asked to share these stories at their staff meetings.

While all of these things help to build a culture of high reliability in order to provide the care to every patient every time as we would our own loved one, we are not there yet! I ask that each of you to join me in recommitting to taking the National Patient Safety pledge.  I pledge to strive to implement and follow practices that increase the safety of my patients and my team!  You can pledge on their website or enter your commitment below!
  
Thank you for all that you do every day to make care safer – to provide the care we would want for ourselves and for our loved ones!


THANK-YOU!!!
Team GBMC again demonstrated its commitment to its mission of health, healing, and hope for the community. I witnessed the teamwork, camaraderie and “can do” attitude of our people first hand.

Our environmental and food service workers were extraordinary in their ability to keep our facility clean along with feeding our patients, staff, and volunteers. Our grounds crew did their usual phenomenal job of snow removal to make our campus safe and passable and our facilities team made sure that everything remained in working order.

Most of the nurses and nursing techs, worked over 24 hours, and many of our physicians came in despite the inclement weather, I truly appreciate your commitment. You all clearly displayed your dedication to treating all of our patients the way we would want our own loved ones to be treated, every time.

I also want to point out that our leadership team also did a fantastic job, led by Stacey McGreevy, our incident commander, who did a remarkable job coordinating everyone’s actions. Cate O’Connor-Devlin helped to coordinate and address nurse staffing for over 200 patients and Michelle Tauson exhibited their expertise in disaster management for the duration of the snow event. I want to thank all the staff members who helped in the hospital’s command center, answering phones, coordinating accommodations for employees who stayed overnight and ensuring that all units had the proper coverage to care for our patients.

Again, my appreciation to all who worked so hard to get the job done for our patients and our community during the snow storm.