Friday, July 27, 2018

Highlighting Our System of Care at Town Hall Meetings

Since late June, we’ve been doing Town Hall meetings. These meetings are an attempt, as I mentioned in this blog a few weeks ago, to narrow the gap between what the frontline staff knows and what the front office knows. The meetings are meant to be two-way communications, a sharing up and down of information.

As part of my presentation, I discuss that we have built a community-based system of care that the patient experiences as a system. It is not perfect, but we should be proud of what we have accomplished. A core building block of our system is the patient-centered medical home. The medical home delivers advanced primary care. Advanced primary care is different than typical primary care. In both models, there are excellent physicians and advanced practitioners and other office staff who care about you and work hard. But advanced primary care is designed to be accountable with you for your health. In advanced primary care, the team, led by a physician, commits to overseeing your health over time. It’s not about a visit, it’s about a relationship. The team includes a nurse care manager, who helps the team stay focused and manage those with chronic disease. The team reaches out to patients to make sure they have a plan and are following the plan. The team connects the patient to specialists when needed. In advanced primary care, there are extended hours of operation, disease-state registries, and many processes designed to check back with the patient (like a phone call after every visit to an emergency room or after an inpatient hospital stay). In advanced primary care, there are also addiction specialists, master’s-prepared behavioralists, and psychiatrists as part of the team. None of this is available in typical primary care. Once again, the physicians and the rest of the office staff in typical primary care are wonderful and work hard, but they don’t have the resources and they are not designed to operate like advanced primary care. In typical primary care, you are more likely to be on your own if you are sick and the office can’t accommodate you. This is when you are left with the choice of going to an Emergency Department for a non-emergency or to an urgent care center, where people will not know you and you will not know them and it is unlikely that they will have your medical record. In advanced primary care, there is a commitment to see you when you are sick. We should all be very proud of advanced primary care!

The State of Maryland is embarking on a new plan to help more primary care physicians get closer to advanced primary care. The program, called the Maryland Primary Care Program, will allow primary care practices to enroll and get help from care managers and others, to do what we have been doing in our system. The support for physicians who don’t have the resources to do it themselves will come from new entities called Care Transformation Organizations (CTO). GBMC, through our Greater Baltimore Health Alliance, is applying to become a CTO. Stay tuned!

Congratulations to our Diabetes and Nutrition Center!
Hats off to our Geckle Diabetes & Nutrition Center for being recognized by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for meeting the national standards for diabetes self-management education. This program has been in existence for over 25 years and has provided patients with education about the disease and how to properly manage symptoms to improve their physical and emotional health.

The ADA Recognition is a four-year certificate awarded to programs that offer high-quality diabetes education services. All approved diabetes education programs cover information relating to the disease, including: nutritional management, physical activity, medication management, and the monitoring, preventing, detecting, and treating acute and chronic complications.

According to the ADA, patient self-care is an essential component of diabetes treatment. Through the support of the healthcare team and increased knowledge and awareness of diabetes, the patient can assume a major part of the responsibility for his or her diabetes management. Unnecessary hospital admissions and some of the acute and chronic complications of diabetes may be prevented through self-management education.

The Geckle Diabetes Self-Management Education Program is available for anyone with diabetes who wants to learn how to manage their new diabetes diagnosis or better manage their current diabetes status.

Congratulations again for this achievement!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Getting the Word Out about the GBMC HealthCare System: It’s Not Your Father’s Marketing Plan

Over the last few years, our marketing department has done an excellent job promoting the GBMC HealthCare System on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook (more on this below). You may not think about a hospital having a significant social media presence, but GBMC HealthCare is trying to change that for our patients, employees, volunteers, and other members of the community.

Facebook Live is the largest live streaming social media platform with over 1.7 billion Facebook users worldwide. In the last 18 months, GBMC has produced more than 100 Facebook Live shows, which serve as valuable content on our redesigned website, The shows originate on Facebook and feature a variety of GBMC experts, services, and volunteers. GBMC’s marketing team has established partnerships with local television and radio media to produce content that highlights the great work being done at GBMC. This platform has enabled our healthcare system to build a bigger audience by making professional broadcasts that are richer in style and content. The key here is to go where people’s attention is and include them in the conversation. We’ve used the many advantages of Facebook Live to engage hospital patients and our followers through active listening, real-time feedback, and viewer participation.

We have monthly programs called “To Your Health” and “Greater Living Live,” which provide Facebook viewers and live-studio audience members with information on clinical and surgical services as well as other health and medical initiatives within the GBMC HealthCare System. It’s been a great avenue to promote subjects and specialties that don’t often receive coverage on local and regional broadcast news or print. I encourage you all to watch our previous shows by visiting and to look for future shows on the GBMC Facebook page. I am sure you will enjoy them and learn more about GBMC!

One unique aspect of our social media strategy is the monthly “Healthy Cooking Demonstration,” featuring Mike Salamon, a chef who is also a bariatric surgical patient, and Jana Wolff, RD, LDN, the Director of Nutrition from GBMC’s Comprehensive Obesity Management Program. Mike and Jana prepare a healthy meal on their show and encourage viewers to post questions and feedback throughout the thirty-minute demonstration. The recipes are then posted on for anyone who would like to refer to them.

In addition to a significant Facebook presence, GBMC’s second most popular social media platform is LinkedIn. LinkedIn provides a great opportunity to share departmental and staff accomplishments with potential job seekers and employees alike. GBMC is also very active on Twitter and Instagram, delivering messages to help guide patients to our services, provide helpful health information, and recognize our talented staff and volunteers.

Our social media strategy encourages two-way communication between our workforce and customers, who are encouraged to “join the conversation” virtually through Facebook Live events or in-person by attending live studio audience opportunities.

We are excited about the future of GBMC’s social media presence and we invite you to follow us on all of our social media platforms!

Facebook: @gbmcmedia
Instagram: gbmchealthcare
LinkedIn: gbmchealthcare
Twitter: @gbmchealthcare
Pinterest: gbmchealthcare

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Good Food, Hula Hoops, and Karaoke

On Tuesday, we had the 2018 Employee and Volunteer Appreciation Luau. This event was a great opportunity for the GBMC family to come together and celebrate what we’ve accomplished as a healthcare system while also having some fun! We cannot reach our vision without a fully engaged workforce, and can’t have a fully engaged workforce unless people feel appreciated. Our fourth Aim  ̶  More Joy — requires that we take time to have some fun. There’s no doubt that the work of healthcare is hard and requires self-sacrifice and dedication.

The luau came in the middle of GBMC Spirit Week, a time for us all to show the pride we have in our organization and our caring for each other. This year, to accommodate all members of our workforce, we started the festivities earlier than usual and we made sure that we offered similar activities to our hospital night shift employees, Gilchrist, and our off-site locations.

The barbecue began at 11 a.m. and hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, BBQ chicken, watermelon salads, desserts, and beverages were served by Rouge Catering. The Kona Ice truck was also on site providing shaved ice for a cool treat.

Everyone enjoyed the music, good food, luau-themed games, a surprise visit from the Oriole Bird, and having a relaxing time with friends and colleagues. Many enjoyed participating in or watching the hula hoop contest, relay race, egg toss, and the flamingo ring toss. We assembled again from 10 p.m. until midnight to BBQ and play games with the night shift staff.

We also hosted a Legacy Chase Hat Contest in which teams decorated wide-brimmed floppy hats to show support for Legacy Chase and the Oncology department. A huge thank you to all the departments, units, and practices who participated! There were 27 hats submitted, and attendees voted on their favorites in three categories: Best Legacy Chase (Equestrian) Theme, Best Cancer Awareness Theme, and Best Department/Unit Theme. I hope many of you voted for your favorite!

Here are the winners in each category, pictured below from left to right:

From left to right: Best Legacy Chase (Equestrian) Theme submitted by Nursing Education; Best Cancer Awareness Theme submitted by The Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head & Neck Center; Best Department/Unit Theme submitted by The Emergency Department

We also had raffles and games sponsored by departments raising money to win a tent at Legacy Chase!

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 event! Special thanks to Kim Davenport from Marketing, Shannon Baumler from Philanthropy, and Tina Hughes from Human Resources for their hard work on this event, beginning early in the morning and stretching all the way through the night shift.

It was a great opportunity to celebrate together and leave our work behind, even if only for an hour or so. I am honored to be a part of the GBMC HealthCare family and I am very grateful for all that our people do. I am delighted to show my spirit. 

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

What did you think about the luau?

Congratulations to Dr. Celano!

As we celebrated at the GBMC employee and volunteer recognition luau, I am pleased to share some wonderful news from a donor who also recognizes the hard work that you do. In July, the Samuelson Foundation made a generous pledge to name in perpetuity the Herman and Walter Samuelson Medical Director of The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute held by Dr. Paul Celano. The trustees of the Samuelson Foundation made this gift to show their appreciation for the remarkable job that physicians, nurses, and the entire staff of GBMC does to provide cancer patients with evidence-based and compassionate care.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Summer Reflections

I was very fortunate to be on vacation this week, spending time with extended family members and friends who I hadn’t seen in a while. On the Fourth of July, I was thinking about the Declaration of Independence and that “all men are created equal with certain inalienable rights, among them Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...” I believe that healthcare is a right that allows us to live life to the fullest and to pursue happiness.

When we gather with friends and family, we discuss all the happenings since our last visit, - both good and bad. Inevitably we discuss illness, who was just diagnosed with what disease and how they are coping. These conversations always bring me back to GBMC HealthCare and our vision of being the community-based healthcare system that can deliver the quadruple aim to every patient, every time.  It is a very noble cause, which I am so fortunate to be part of along with my 3,000+ colleagues.

So, I am going to spend a few more days away enjoying family and friends, the beach, some good meals, good music (of course Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers), and then return to GBMC recommitted to help move us closer to our vision.