The BMC Brief
November 2, 2011 Volume 1, Issue 12
Boston Medical Center (BMC) scored in the top 20 percent in the annual Leapfrog Hospital Recognition Program. More than than a thousand hospitals across 43 states participated in the program that scores hospitals on their quality, resource use and value. The program evaluates hospitals’ clinical areas such as Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), outcomes of high risk procedures like bariatric surgery, high-risk deliveries and hospital-acquired conditions such as pressure ulcers and safe practices. This is the first time BMC has participated in the program.
“We were very pleased to score so well as a first-time participant,” says Stanley Hochberg, MD, Vice President, Patient Safety and Quality. “The LeapFrog Group is composed of large employers who are committed to purchasing health care services based on quality and affordability. Positive recognition by this group illustrates that the high quality care we deliver day in and day out is recognized and appreciated across all segments of the health care market.”
The information assessed in the Leapfrog Hospital Recognition Program is acquired through hospitals’ voluntary reporting of their safety, quality and efficiency standards in the Leapfrog Hospital Survey. BMC participated in that survey for the first time earlier this year and emerged as a patient safety leader among Boston hospitals.
“BMC not only scored very well overall on the survey, but also met the full standard in many areas,” says Hochberg.
The purpose of the Leapfrog Hospital Recognition Program is to help health plans recognize and reward hospitals that demonstrate excellence or improvement in key areas.
When David Twitchell, PharmD, MBA, joined Boston Medical Center (BMC) in June as Director of Pharmacy, plans to transition the management of the Outpatient Pharmacy from Boston Pharmacy Management to BMC were in full swing.
“Pharmacy management, along with Human Resources and Project Management, were planning for new in-house systems for payroll and cash collections and the onboarding of 45 staff,” says Twitchell. “There were a lot of moving pieces that required a tremendous amount of work and collaboration with others. We are thrilled to report that we completed the transition on schedule and within budget.”
On Oct. 1, BMC officially took over the Outpatient Pharmacy, a service that had been outsourced for 15 years. The decision to bring the two pharmacies, located on the ground level of Yawkey Ambulatory Care Center (YACC) and the Doctors’ Office building (DOB), in house was based on cost and operational savings, says Twitchell.
“By insourcing the pharmacies, BMC will save $1 million this year in personnel expenses and collect $7 million in revenue. Managing the previous outsourced systems also will give us the flexibility we need to grow our infrastructure and look at new ways to service our patients more efficiently.”
The transition to the new system was seamless for patients, with no reduction in hours or closures, and the processing of the average 2,800 prescriptions a day at both locations was unaffected, Twitchell said.
“This project was a collaboration of Pharmacy management, Information Technology Services and Facilities. It was a great team effort in which members stepped up, took ownership and acted as key stakeholders who drove the project to completion,” says Patricia Hite, Administrative Director, Outpatient Pharmacy.
Outpatient Pharmacy By the Numbers
‘Face’ of BMC
On a recent Friday morning, the YACC Outpatient Pharmacy was hopping. Patients were waiting in chairs, leaning against walls and mill around the room, waiting for their names to be called and for customers to complete their transactions at pick-up windows.
The wait times prior to the Oct. 1 transition averaged two hours in the YACC pharmacy and one hour in the DOB pharmacy. The wait was due in large part to there being only one cash register and one credit card machine for the nine check-out windows in YACC ( and five in DOB) to share. Since the transition, each pick-up window has been outfitted with a computer that processes credit and cash transactions and a system that tracks patients’ prescriptions. Twitchell notes that one of the benefits of the transition is an expected decline in wait times.
Staffing changes were also a large part of the transition, with the majority of staff employed by the contract company. Many had worked in the Outpatient Pharmacy for years, and when the transition came, 45 came on board as BMC employees.
“Many of our employees are on a first-name basis with our customers,” says Hite. “Most of the former outsourced employees had been wearing the BMC ID badge for years and felt they were already a BMC employee and part of the organization. Now it is reality.”“We are the public face of BMC,” she continues. “We help shape patients’ experiences. Our goal is to continue to improve our business by providing excellent, compassionate customer service.”
The DOB Outpatient Pharmacy is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m., and closed Saturday and Sunday. The YACC Outpatient Pharmacy is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; and closed Sunday. Learn more about the Outpatient Pharmacy.
Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, Chief, Computational Biomedicine at BMC, and Associate Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), will direct a study aimed at developing novel technologies for the early detection of lung cancer. For this work, BUSM has received a $13.6 million grant for the five-year multi-site, multi-phase study that will focus on active military personnel and veterans. The funding is provided by the United States Department of Defense (DOD) Lung Cancer Research Program.
Spira and his team will collaborate with military hospitals and Veteran’s Affairs medical centers across the country that collectively have the ability to investigate a large number of patients and gain access to a diverse variety of researchers and tools. The Detecting Early Lung Cancer Among Military Personnel (DECAMP) Consortium represents the largest consortium of researchers dedicated to identifying non-invasive ways to detect lung cancer early.
Smoking rates among military personnel are about 50 percent higher than the civilian population, and veterans in particular are 25-75 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than non-veterans. There has been an increase in smoking among members of the armed forces stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the rate is 50 percent higher in deployed vs. non-deployed personnel. Additionally, the exposure of other substances in the air when in combat, including radon, asbestos and fuel exhaust, is elevated among military personnel.
“Current lung cancer detection methods involve invasive procedures that are often done only after symptoms occur, and by that time, the cancer has spread outside of the lungs and can be difficult to treat,” said Spira. “Using advanced imaging techniques and testing molecular biomarkers that indicate risk of a future lung cancer diagnosis will help in the development of non-invasive, accurate methods to detect lung cancer before it becomes untreatable.”
Name: Ellen Kolton
What brought you to BMC?
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Patient Advocacy sounds like it can be tough.
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Do you know a staff member who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patients share their BMC experience
I am writing to commend a Pharmacy employee, Ms. Felicia Bruno. After one week without my medications for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and after 48 hours of trying to get a hard-copy prescription from my primary care physician’s office, I made two trips to the pharmacy and the medicine was nowhere to be found. Ms. Bruno, however, after hearing about my predicament, and after expressing professional compassion, sent another Pharmacy staff member down to a holding area, located the medications and gave my much-needed medicine to me.
I wish to commend this employee for going the extra mile, for caring about people and for being a super person.
James named to National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence
Breast health physicians participate in Komen Foundation’s Catwalk for a Cure
Humor reigns at An Evening for Cancer Survivors
TranSComm celebrates 20 years
Public Safety officers honored
BMCers don denim to raise funds for cancer patients
Richard Babayan, MD, Chief and Chair of Urology, was honored recently by the Armenian American Health Professional Organization (AAHPO) for his exceptional contributions to medicine in both the United States and in Armenia.
Karen Antman, MD, Provost of Boston University Medical Campus (BUMC) and Dean of the School of Medicine, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM). The institute advises policy makers and professionals on medical and health issues. Antman is one of 65 people chosen this year for outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Election to the IOM is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.
BMC received an American Institute of Architects (AIA) New England Design Award for its Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Ambulatory Care Center. The Shapiro Center won a Special Citation for Design Excellence at the annual AIA regional conference Oct. 15. The building was designed by Tsoi/Kobus and Associates of Cambridge.