Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

This Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. It is a day to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. For me, it is a very long list.

The GBMC family has a lot to be thankful for as well.  We have a beautiful campus, state-of-the-art technology, and great doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and support staff working in the hospital, at GBMA and at Gilchrist Services. We should be thankful for the volunteer auxiliary and all that they do to help us achieve our vision. GBMC has phenomenal support from the community. Wonderful examples of this are our GBMC HealthCare Board, the Philanthropy Committee, and the Gilchrist Board.  Our governance bodies are made up of individuals who are dedicated to the mission of GBMC – a mission of health, healing and hope for our community.

In this, our 50th anniversary year, we must also show our gratefulness for our donors who have pledged more than $54 million to help us achieve our vision.

But we should show the most thanks to our patients who entrust us with their care. They give us the joy of service to them in their most vulnerable moments. Without them, we would have no mission or vision.

On Tuesday of this week, after LDM rounds, Joann Ioannou, our Chief Nursing Officer, read a letter from a grateful family written to the SICU staff.  In the letter, the family spoke of how hard it was to see their loved one in intensive care and thanked the SICU staff not only for their care but, also their kindness. On listening to the letter, I realized that the SICU team was treating this family the way they wanted their own families to be treated and it brought a smile to my face.

I really have a lot to be thankful for.

I wish everyone in our GBMC family a Happy Thanksgiving.

What are you thankful for during this time? Please share your thoughts.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Very Busy Nurses Sit Down To Speak with Patients

During our daily visits, to Unit 35, on our Lean Daily Management walks over the last few months, Nurse Manager, Kathy Bull and her team have been telling us about their learning as they were testing a new communication strategy.  They began sitting at the bedside of each of their patients for “one minute” each shift and having a conversation with the patient about his or her care. I say “one minute” in quotes because they quickly learned that the conversation always took more than one minute.  The Unit 35 team had to figure out how to fit these discussions into their work.  They were already extremely busy in meeting the patient’s needs, but, they saw an opportunity to hear what the patient thought and to get to know them a bit better as the inpatient stay progressed.  

For the months of August, September and October, Unit 35 has had the highest patient satisfaction scores in any quarter since they started measuring!

In addition, all of the nurse communication questions showed the same pattern! The patients are saying that they really appreciate that the nurses are finding the time to sit with them and discuss the care.  I am so proud of the Unit 35 team and I am very grateful for their fantastic work in treating everyone the way they want their own loved ones treated.

Congratulations to the medical director of our Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, Gary I. Cohen M.D., FACP, who earlier this week was honored with the Martin D. Abeloff Award for Excellence in Public Health and Cancer Control by the Maryland State Council on Cancer Control. This award is given annually to a Marylander who has contributed to reducing the incidence, morbidity and mortality of cancer through research focused on cancer control. Dr. Cohen is an incredible physician who is dedicated to serving his patients. He truly deserves this recognition and we are proud of him for earning this prestigious honor. Please congratulate him the next time you see him!

I am also proud to announce that this is the second year in a row that a member of the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute at GBMC was given this award. In 2014, Robert K. Brookland, MD, FACR, FACRO, GBMC’s Chairman of Radiation Oncology was also honored.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Our Phenomenal Physicians are Recognized…Again

GBMC has always been known as an organization with outstanding physicians. This was again confirmed when more than 160 of our physicians, in 80 specialties, were named in Baltimore Magazine‘s “Top Doctors” listings for 2015.  Once again, we had more members of our staff on the list than any other community hospital in the region and several of our medical staff members were recognized in more than one category and some have been recognized many years in a row.

In preparing its annual list of “Top Doctors,” Baltimore magazine surveyed more than 10,000 area physicians in Baltimore City and seven surrounding counties and asked where they would send a member of their family for care in a wide variety of specialties. This important question is at the very center of GBMC’s vision of providing each of our patients with care in the same manner that we would want for our own loved ones.  The annual Top Doctors recognition isn't another popularity contest – the list is chosen by people who really know about the quality of care being delivered.  And, it’s clear that with over 160 members of GBMC’s medical staff on this list, the medical community recognizes the excellence of GBMC’s physicians.

In addition, the magazine also highlighted one of our obstetrician/gynecologists, Dominique Allen, M.D.  She was one of four eminent doctors, from a pool of approximately 500 physicians in the Baltimore area, selected to be profiled in the current TOP DOCS issue.

I congratulate Dr. Allen and all GBMC’s Top Doctors - we are extremely proud to have such excellent, caring clinicians on our team and very grateful for all that they do to care for our community.

To view a listing of our “Top Doctors” and to learn more about who they are, please visit www.gbmc.org/topdocs under the “Find a Doctor” link.

And speaking of GBMC’s great medical staff, I had the privilege earlier this week of participating in the celebration of the career of Charles P. (“Pat”) Wilkinson, MD and his retirement from GBMC.  Dr. Wilkinson, one of our Physician Titans and an internationally known specialist in the treatment of retinal disorders, was the long-time chair of our Department of Ophthalmology.  The department has been fortunate to have Pat as the Chair since 1992.  Under his leadership GBMC’s ophthalmology department program became a place that is well known in the region for treating patients with the latest evidence-based advances in the field. Teaching the next generation of ophthalmologists was also an important part of Dr. Wilkinson’s work. He has mentored many residents from Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland residency programs.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Wilkinson on his distinguished career at GBMC and thanking him for all that he has done for GBMC, our young physicians in training and most importantly, our patients.

Recognizing Colleagues: Radiologic Technology Week & Forensic Nurses Week
This week is both “Radiologic Technology Week” and “Forensic Nursing Week” and I would like to thank all of our registered technologists (R.T.s) and our forensic nurses for their important roles in providing serving our patients as if they were their loved ones.

R.T.’s perform diagnostic imaging examinations and administer radiation therapy treatments. They are educated in: anatomy, patient positioning, examination techniques, equipment protocols, radiation safety, radiation protection and basic patient care. They may specialize in a specific imaging technique such as: bone densitometry, cardiovascular-interventional radiography, mammography, MRI, nuclear medicine, sonography or general radiography.  They are the teammates of our radiologists and radiation oncologists.

Forensic nurses are specially trained and certified examiners who care for adolescent and adult victims (ages 13 and older) of sexual assault.  Forensic nurses complete a full assessment of the patient, obtain potential forensic evidence and provide antibiotic therapy, emergency contraception and resources for crisis counseling and support services.  Our forensic nurses, as part of our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Program, also speak at middle schools, high schools, and college campuses in an effort to influence the behavior of youths to make safe choices in their social interactions.  Our forensic nurses are also an instrumental part of the Baltimore County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and work closely with local law enforcement agencies in cases of sexual assault in our community.

Please join me in thanking Phil Komenda, our Director of Imaging and Cardiac Services, and Laura Clary, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CPEN, our Clinical Program Manager for the SAFE Program, and their teams for all their hard work and for their important role in caring for our patients.

Thanking Our Veterans on Veterans Day and Every Day
This past Wednesday, we set aside a day to honor the millions of American military veterans who have honored us with their service.  We paused to salute all who have served and honored the tremendous sacrifices made by members of the U.S. armed forces and their families to preserve our freedom. I know that I speak for all of us at GBMC in offering our sincere gratitude for the personal sacrifices, past and present of all of our service men and women.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Our Patients have Voted: GBMA is Delivering Better Care

It has now been five years since the GBMC HealthCare Board conducted its visioning retreat. http://ahealthydialogue.blogspot.com/2010/10/saving-celebrating-and-planning.html I remember the conversation among those in attendance. Everyone had great things to say about GBMC and its physicians, nurses and staff. But everyone had at least one story where our service to a patient missed the mark.  Frequently the stories were about waits and delays or about poor communication.

Last Wednesday, during our monthly leadership meeting, I had the opportunity to see just how far we have come in our Aim of Better Care for everyone’s loved ones. Danielle Da Silva, Ambulatory Service Line Administrator for Greater Baltimore Medical Associates, was showing the group how GBMA was doing on its better care goals. Danielle showed that our employed physician practices had an overall patient engagement score of 93.4 which is at the 89th percentile nationally and at the 91st percentile in our region!
This outstanding improvement in service has not happened by chance.  It is due to the hard work of our practice managers, lead physicians and all of the members of their teams.  They have extended hours of operation, improved at using the patient portal, improved patient flow within the office and improved  their communication skills across the board.  I am so proud of all of them and grateful for all of their hard work.

I must particularly call out a group of “unsung heroes”…our medical assistants.  These are the people who work alongside our physicians in the office, getting the patients ready for the visit, taking their vital signs, making sure that they have had their immunizations, etc. In this quarter, the medical assistant overall score was 94.7 which at the 85th national percentile!
As I studied the data, our scores have gone up in every area of the survey! Our GBMA colleagues are truly making the care better every day and helping us get closer to our vision. Please give them a pat on the back when you see them and thank them for all that they are doing for our patients.

National Medical Staff Services Professionals Awareness Week
This week is “National Medical Staff Services Awareness Week,” and I would like to acknowledge and thank all of our medical staff services professionals (MSPs) for playing an important role to our healthcare organization and its physician members, and their contribution and dedication in preserving quality patient care.

MSPs are experts in provider credentialing and privileging, medical staff organization, accreditation and regulatory compliance, and provider relations in our diverse healthcare industry. They credential and monitor ongoing competence of the physicians and other practitioners who provide patient care services in hospitals, managed care organizations, and other healthcare settings.  MSPs are a vital part of our healthcare team and are dedicated to making certain that all patients receive care from practitioners who are properly educated, licensed, and trained in their specialty.

Please join me in thanking our MSPs for their hard work and for their important role in caring for our patients.