Friday, October 26, 2018

TOP DOCS 2018….

GBMC has always been known for having outstanding physicians. This was again confirmed when more than 130 of them, in 81 specialties, were named in Baltimore magazine's “Top Doctors” list for 2018.

For more than 30 years, the magazine has annually recognized the excellence of the region’s physicians. Being recognized as a “Top Doctor” is an extraordinary honor, because it is awarded by their peers. In preparing its annual list of “Top Doctors,” Baltimore magazine surveyed 13,000 area physicians in Baltimore City and seven surrounding counties and asked to whom they would send a member of their family for care in a wide variety of specialties. This question mirrors GBMC’s vision phrase of providing each patient with the care we would want for our own loved ones. The annual Top Doctors recognition isn't, therefore, another popularity contest – the list is chosen by people who really know about the quality of care being delivered.

This year, the magazine also highlighted, Dr. Jose E. Dominguez, our director of pediatric anesthesiology. He was one of six physicians, from a pool of over 700 in the Baltimore area, selected to be profiled.

We are so fortunate to have such a talented and dedicated medical staff. Congratulations to Dr. Dominguez as well as the others who were named 2018 Top Docs.

To learn more about our “Top Doctors,” please visit GBMC's Top Doctors 2018 webpage.

Another Well-Deserved Award
Congratulations to members of our Child Protection Program and our Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence teams, who were recently awarded a Victims of Crime Assistance (VOCA) grant for more than $243,000 from The Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP). The award will help offset the cost of these programs as we grow our capabilities in child protection after the elimination of the pediatric emergency department and inpatient pediatrics at Franklin Square Medical Center earlier this year. Please join me in thanking these colleagues for their hard work and dedication to the protection of children and adult victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Our Sympathies...
I want to express our collective condolences to Dr. Gary Cohen, former medical director of the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, and his family on the passing of his beloved wife, Charlene. Charlene was always an advocate for our healthcare system. Many of you will remember that Charlene was the chair of GBMC’s 30th Anniversary celebration, which raised over $140,000 for the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in 1995. She also is the artist behind the many paintings hanging on the walls of the Women’s and Outpatient Surgery Center, Oncology Support Services, and other areas within our hospital.

Let’s thank…
I want to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of both our chaplains and medical assistants as we celebrate Pastoral/Spiritual Care Week (Oct. 21—27) and Medical Assistants Recognition Week (Oct. 22-28).

Medical assistants are incredibly versatile and are trained to perform clinical, laboratory, and administrative duties. They are truly vital members of our healthcare delivery team who help move us closer to our vision every day.

I want to thank Chaplain J. Joseph Hart and all members of our Spiritual Support team for their hard work and dedication to meet the spiritual needs of our patients. No matter the faith, our Spiritual Support team is always there to provide compassion and comfort to families as their loved ones face a serious illness or life-threatening injury. To learn more about our Spiritual Support Services, please go to their web page. Also, check out a recent “Day in The Life” segment, produced by our media partner ABC2 News, which focuses on Reverend Hart and his team by clicking here.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Partnering with our Community to Meet Needs Beyond Healthcare

We have built a community-based system of healthcare that we can be proud of, but we know that healthcare can only do so much to generate health. The GBMC HealthCare System must also become more involved with the social determinants of health: safe housing, food and clothing, education, and jobs. I would like to review some of our involvement with community partners to improve health beyond healthcare.

Since 2016, our Community Benefits Committee has been led by Cathy Hamel, Vice President of Continuing Care at GBMC HealthCare and President of Gilchrist, and Carolyn Candiello, our Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety. The committee recently updated our Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and as a result, they’ve chosen three priority areas: Behavioral Health/Substance Use, Access to Care, and Obesity. The group studied the existing resources in the community for these priority areas, identified gaps, and created ideas for improvement. Their next meeting is before the end of this month and I look forward to hearing about our next steps. Stay tuned!

This year, GBMC teamed up again with ABC2 News to collect hundreds of needed items for the Fill the House initiative supporting the House of Ruth. Thank you to all who donated items for this year’s drive and to all who helped with the campaign.

We have partnered and will continue to partner with other community agencies as well. You may recall that a couple of years ago we collected thousands of pounds of non-perishable food items and delivered them to the Bea Gaddy Family Center and to the Assistance Center of Towson Churches (ACTC), a consortium of 50 churches that provides support to disadvantaged families in our community.  We also conducted a book drive for new and/or gently used books for the Reading Partners “Take Reading Home” program, whose main goal is to help provide support to children from kindergarten through fourth grade.

I am very proud of our involvement in the community and I know we can continue to do more!

Healthcare Security and Safety Week

I want to thank all the members of our GBMC security staff as this week is Healthcare Safety and Security Week (Oct. 14 — 20).

The GBMC security team can be seen walking or stationed throughout our medical center and at Gilchrist. The officers work every day to keep all of us safe at GBMC. They are vital members of the healthcare team and we cannot be successful without them.

Please join me in thanking our security staff for their hard work and for their strong commitment to keeping us safe.

International Infection Prevention Week

This week is also International Infection Prevention Week and it’s a time to highlight the importance of infection prevention and raise awareness of everyone’s role in protecting the public from healthcare-acquired infections.

Our Infection Prevention team members are all registered nurses with additional qualifications in Infection Prevention and Control, immunization, and HIV and Hepatitis Testing. They oversee our cleanliness, our use of antibiotics, and our use of protective equipment.

Under the guidance of our infection preventionists, here are a few of our accomplishments in FY18: reduced catheter-associated urinary tract infections to 4; reduced central line-associated bloodstream infections to 3; and improved hand hygiene compliance to 91%.

Please join me in thanking our Infection Prevention Department on a job well done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

52 Clicks

During this past Friday’s Lean Daily Management rounds, I learned that a nurse doing a complete neurological check on a patient after spine surgery had to click 52 times in the electronic health record to document his or her assessment. I was stunned by this assertion. I have been very concerned about creating unnecessary work for our nurses who already work so hard. This example made me concerned that in our zeal to get to high reliability (what should happen happens and what should never happen doesn’t) by creating standard work, perhaps we had created a system that is not sustainable.

Checking on the neurological status of a patient who has just had spine surgery is very important to make sure that we do not miss a serious problem in the making. Documenting our check is important to our colleagues, in this instance especially the operating surgeon, can see the result of our neurological exam. But does it have to be so hard?

Before the reader races to blame the electronic record let me point out that the paper world left room for error as well. With a blank piece of paper, it was easy for the clinician to write Neuro: WNL, meaning the entire neurological exam was normal. This would always raise the question of whether an entire exam was done. We also had the problem of illegibility with some handwriting.

This is an instance where we healthcare leaders need to avoid the “either, or” trap. Either the documentation will be complete, or it will be efficient. We need “both, and” solutions that will allow for documentation that is both complete and efficient. Wouldn’t it be nice if as the nurse was doing the exam the documentation just happened? How about voice recognition software that would allow the nurse to speak the results of the exam as it was being done?

I am sure that we can come up with a system that would be better than the 52 clicks. Do you have an idea? Please share it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A New Dynamic Dyad

The GBMC HealthCare System gets better every day at delivering on our four aims and the areas where we make the most improvement are where we have our best leaders. I have been teaching our leadership model in GBMC University classes a lot recently.

During our last GBMC HealthPartners meeting, Shannon Littleton, the Joppa Road Patient-Centered Medical Home Practice Manager, and Dr. James Baronas, the Physician Lead, presented some of their most recent results in patient engagement scores. This dynamic duo took over the leadership of the practice in the summer of 2017. Since then, they have reviewed the GBMC mission, vision, and values with their team and shared performance data. They redesigned their work to improve scheduling, the use of MyChart, phone answering, and office flow. At every step, they thanked their people and encouraged them to make further improvements.  Their results are remarkable!

We are so fortunate to have smart, caring, young leaders in our organization. Thank you, Shannon and James!

This year, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we are teaming up with WMAR 2 News (ABC – Baltimore) as a proud sponsor of the Fill the House for House of Ruth initiative to collect everyday necessities for this partner in care.

House of Ruth provides services to nearly 9,000 women annually who are victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). The work that the House of Ruth performs is closely aligned with our work in the community. Our Domestic Violence (DV) Program has provided services to more than 800 individuals such as support, education, safety planning, referral to community resources and follow-up.

Various drop-off boxes (see picture) have been set up throughout the GBMC campus including the GBMC Pediatric Group, Human Resources, Oncology Support Services, Spiritual Support Services, Volunteer Services, and Family Care Associates. They are also at each of our 10 off-site primary care locations along with Active Life & Sports in Nottingham and Karma Consignment Group in Timonium. Another way to donate is through our Amazon Wishlist. All items purchased through this link will be shipped directly to the GBMC Marketing department, so you don’t have to worry about dropping anything off.

Some of the House of Ruth's greatest needs include diapers, women's and children's undergarments, pillows, twin-sized sheets, comforters, and blankets along with personal care products — deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, etc...The drive will run through Monday, October 15 and all items must be new and unopened.

Again, your donations meet the basic needs of victims — things we often take for granted — so please help the House of Ruth and victims of IPV.

Fun in The Sun for A Great Cause
The 18th annual Legacy Chase at Shawan Downs was a huge success! Approximately 8,000 attendees came together for great weather, beautiful horses, and time spent with family and friends. The more than $200,000 raised will go toward oncology services at the Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute.

Hats, Horses, and Hope was the theme again this year to celebrate cancer survivors. Many of the annual crowd-pleasing traditions continued— such as the G. Leslie Grimes Memorial Stick Pony Race for kids — and GBMC added some exciting new components to help make the event a success. Brand new this year, was the Archway of Hope, which allowed volunteers and friends of our Cancer Institute to decorate and personalize wide-brimmed hats, which they placed on the arch. Each of the hats create a sense of comfort and strength for cancer patients and their families. Children also came dressed as their favorite superhero to show their support for the fight, while some guests boasted their best hat to show support for oncology patients.

Legacy Chase gives us an opportunity to engage with the community, employees, donors, and local businesses in the work of our healthcare system. We are proud to receive tremendous support from the community-at-large and our family here at home. 

I also want to thank the more than 150 volunteers who helped make this such a great event.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Visit to a Team That is Doing Great Things

The opioid epidemic is getting a lot of press lately. We healthcare providers realize the role that we have played in causing the epidemic with our liberal use of narcotics for pain management. We are now acting to reduce this use and we are making great strides. Unfortunately, it will take a long time to reduce the number of those who have become addicted.

A few months ago, Dr. Andrey Ostrovsky, a pediatrician and the Chief Executive Officer of Concerted Care, LLC, an organization that treats addiction, came to visit GBMC with several of the members of his leadership team. They went on our Lean Daily Management walk with us and we spent some time learning from each other about care improvement. 

Last week, several of us from GBMC went to see the Concerted Care operation in Baltimore City on 25th Street. We were extremely impressed with the system of care that they have created for hundreds of addicted Baltimoreans. They prescribe and distribute methadone and they provide individual and group counseling for their patients. Dr. Ostrovsky also showed us some houses that they rented to provide living quarters for some who were also homeless.

We spent time with them in a team-building exercise called “The Marshmallow Game,” which is designed to create innovative thinking. As much as Concerted Care is doing, they believe that they could do even better, but it will require new ways of doing their work.

I left Concerted Care reflecting on how fortunate we are in Baltimore to have such dedicated people to care for those with tremendous medical and social needs. Rather than lament the difficulty of their work, they had found the energy to continually improve. We salute Dr. Ostrovsky and his team for all that they are doing to help our community!