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Connect with patients, staff for positive experiences

May 14th, 2014

by Scott Kashman

Could you imagine how crazy we must sound in healthcare when new people arrive? We use terms and phrases like: LWBS (left without being seen), LWOT (let without treatment), ALOS (average length of stay), ROI (return on investment), CDI (clinical documentation improvement), huddle boards, PDCA, LEAN, CT scan, MRI, financial acumen, quality outcomes, core measures, patient experience/HCAHPS, employee engagement, physician engagement, strategy, population health and prevention.

The list goes on. How do we make it easier for people to transition into our organizations or, frankly, reconnect with our organizations?

A few months back I wrote about the new Connectivity plans for our employees, volunteers and physicians. Connectivity serves as a way to take all our strategic initiatives and frame them in an organized way. This allows participants to better understand their role and how they personally contribute to the organization's strategies.

[More:]

The Patient Side
One story I share during Connectivity is my time as a patient in radiology. Think about it--we are there for an X-ray or MRI and yet, expect so much more. Will the person smile, be nice, explain the procedure, keep me safe?

When I was a patient, the technologist walked me to the machines and offered me a gown. At 5'6 and, well, not that big of a guy, I am still amazed we have not figured out how to get the gown to cover the human body. He offered me a warm blanket since it was cold. The real "connection" began when I laid down on the table. He looked at me and said, "I can sense you are scared. Please know you are in great hands. You are with people who care about you and will make sure you stay safe the whole study. We will talk you through the whole exam."

That's when it hit me--the blanket helps address a comfort measure and also serves as a way you could connect with your patients. No one in radiology tosses the blanket to you. They hand it to you and put it over you directly--that's when they could really look you in the eyes to see how you’re feeling.

Specifically, Connectivity focuses on the following:

Goals:

  • 1. Understand individuals daily role towards our organization's goals. Specifically finding ways to truly connect.
  • 2. Understand the measurable outcomes each of us could impact based on the organization's goals.
  • 3. Understand our core strategies and overarching framework including:
  • The need to drive our business strategies though an optimal healing environment (OHE) using LEAN as our management system.
  • Quality and safety
  • System strategy
  • Financial overview
  • OHE framework
  • Clinical vision and expected behaviors
  • Staff engagement
  • Patient experience
  • Stroke and heart attack symptoms

Each section, led by members of our hospital and system leadership team, lasts six minutes unless speakers request additional time. We have had more than 300 participants to date. This forum serves as a meaningful way for you to connect and reconnect with your organization and fellow colleagues. It lays out what people can expect when they get to their departments. It has helped us build on our safety culture and has correlated positively to our quality and financial outcomes.

How do you ensure your team connects and reconnects in your organization?

Scott Kashman serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of Cape Coral Hospital, part of the Lee Memorial Health System in southwest Florida.

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