"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Improving the Community’s Perception of WMHS

On Monday, I blogged about feedback that we received from our leadership related to improving the community’s perception of WMHS.  Lots of ideas were offered and I thought that it would be beneficial for everyone to know what we will be focusing on over the next few months related to perception.
Executing on Fundamentals
  • First and foremost, find out the drivers for the misperceptions
  • Educate and engage our employees to a much greater extent on the many positives occurring at WMHS
  • Hardwire the patient experience process organization wide
  • Explain why there may be long waits in the ED and the steps that are being taken to address
  • Ensure accountability of our staff that they are putting the patient at the center of everything that they do
  • Better manage patient and family expectations
  • Encourage patients to make complaints when problems occur – we can’t fix it if we don’t know about it
  • Do a better job of scripting staff when they hear negative comments about WMHS
  • Make sure that the staff know where complaints should be directed
  • Use Voice of the Patient findings from our patient satisfaction results to identify patient issues and follow up when possible
  • Patients need to understand how health care is changing and what to expect when you come to the hospital
  • Explain our triage process in the ED as to why some patients may be seen more rapidly than others
  • Need to engage physicians more so they have a better and more accurate perception of WMHS; especially those who no longer have a hospital practice
  • Establish a Patient / Family Council at WMHS
Prove Our Credibility
  • Tell our story to a greater extent; a little shameless self-promotion could be a good thing
  • More thoroughly explain the Hospital Medicine program and the credentials of these very well trained hospitalists
  • Make sure that the public knows that their primary care physician has chosen not to come to the hospital and that he or she has been replaced by a hospitalist
  • Encourage staff to intervene as quickly as possible to address problems and issues so they can be resolved as quickly as possible.
  • Send the latest annual report (Transforming Healthcare) to homes throughout the region
  • Provide that same annual report to every patient upon admission
  • Contact every patient post discharge to thank them for choosing WMHS
  • Provide blameless apologies while patients and families are still at the hospital
Demonstrate Value
  • Promote the positives, i.e. the WMHS Heart Institute, the Da Vinci Robot, the Wound Center, the Schwab Family Cancer Center, etc.
  • Increase engagement of patients and families
  • Ensure the community that it’s not only academic medical centers that have the latest technology.  We have state of the art technology for all programs and services offered at WMHS.
  • Provide ongoing education to staff on the latest happenings at WMHS that would benefit both them and their patients
  • Promote our quality measures that are already on our website to the community
  • Ensure that our Marketing Dept is well aware of the latest technology, equipment and techniques being used and applied at WMHS
Again, it was a day very well spent with many wonderful ideas being offered.  I have attached an electronic copy of our annual report, Transforming Healthcare, to this blog so you can see for yourself what we have been up to at WMHS over the last year.  Lots of great things are happening every day at WMHS; we just need to tell someone.

WMHS FY2016 Accomplishments

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Day Very Well Spent

On Friday, we had an all day meeting of our department directors and nurse managers.  We used the day to get feedback and validation on the results of our recently completed department director survey and on our strategic plan.  

The WMHS Board approved the strategic plan in September, and we have been presenting components of our plan to the leadership group since then. On Friday, there were two primary objectives to be achieved during the meeting:  generate ideas to improve the community's perception of WMHS and build tactics to support the strategic plan. The ideas coming from the group on improving perception were amazing and will be put into action immediately.

In the afternoon, the group broke into five teams to build tactics around each strategic goal.  Attached is the strategy map outlining each strategic goal and their supporting objectives.  There are a series of strategies for each objective, and tactics will be developed at the department and patient unit levels around each strategy.  There was a great deal of information provided during the afternoon session, as well.  Numerous tactics were built around each strategy and over the next few months, the teams will continue to meet to finalize the plan with department and unit level tactics.  It was also determined that the plan will be a very dynamic document complete with performance measurement and accountability at every level of the organization.  In the past, the strategic plan pretty much remained at the management level.  

In the morning session, one of the suggestions for improving community perception was to have greater engagement of all WMHS staff.  We have over 2000 potential ambassadors who with the necessary knowledge, background and education could tell the story of what actually happens at WMHS, including the wonderful things happening every day through the work of some amazing people.  

Again, Friday was a day that was very well spent for all of us.  There will be more to follow in subsequent blogs on the specifics of a very successful day.