The BMC Brief
June 8, 2012 Volume 1, Issue 26
On June 5, President and CEO Kate Walsh hosted Town Hall Meetings focused on the patient experience work underway at BMC.
The meetings kicked off with a reading of a patient story. Paul is a cancer patient with mental illness who received exceptional care at BMC. An accompanying slideshow flashed the photos of the many BMC staff who touched the lives of Paul and his family, from direct caregivers to transporters to valet parking staff.
“As Jan (Paul’s sister) recounts, ‘It was more than just the doctors; it was whole team. People just stepped up with kindness,’” read Robyn Souza, Cancer Care Services, and Sheryl Katzanek, Patient Advocacy, who were involved Paul’s care. “Jan adds, ‘My brother has mental illness and he didn’t fit the medical model, but BMC found a way to take care of him. He is happy in his own way.’”
“Paul’s story encapsulates what we are talking about – a high-quality patient experience,” Walsh told the audience after the reading. “It is illustrative of our strategic goal to provide the right care for every patient, no less and no more. If Paul were your brother, this is the care you would want for him.”
Walsh explained that BMC is being measured on more than just safety and quality criteria; it is also being measured on patient perceptions of courtesy, wait times, staff collaboration, the hospital’s ability to handle complaints and concerns, and more.
“Our patients can vote with their feet,” said Walsh. “They are telling us what a quality patient experience means. While they can’t necessarily evaluate what happens under a CyberKnife machine, they do know if someone is pleasant to them or if an appointment is scheduled at a time that is convenient for them. They know if a transporter or nurse goes the extra mile to reduce a patient or family member’s anxiety. And they understand how well we work together.”
Walsh noted that BMC currently lags behind other Boston hospitals on its patient experience rankings. Medicare, Medicaid and other payers also are taking the patient experience scores into account in calculating reimbursements, so low scores directly affect BMC’s bottom line.
Rebecca Blair, Executive Director, Patient Experience, then reviewed the results of the recent survey sent to employees who received their care at BMC. More than 875 employees responded to it.
“Overall, people said that the clinical care they received here was high quality, but that the system breaks down when it comes to the way they were treated,” said Blair.
As a result, four workgroups have been created to focus on critical elements that need enhancement:
Examples of projects include a phased wayfinding plan that will increase and improve signage around the campus, implementing customer service training for staff, the standardization of patient information and education materials, and the creation of an environment that better supports employees’ work/life balance. Projects already implemented include an ambassador program that has volunteers escorting patients to their appointments, and a room-a-day program that has improved the aesthetics of 75 inpatient rooms.
“This is important, meaningful work that is going to make us better,” said Blair.
Audience members then gave feedback on what they are doing in their departments and units to improve the patient experience.
“Thank you for sharing all the wonderful ways you are contributing to the patient experience,” concluded Walsh. “To ‘be exceptional’ is a lofty goal, but you are helping us be just that.”
Visit the BMC intranet to watch the video of the Town Hall Meeting or make a suggestion.
If you’ve visited the cafeterias in the Menino or Newton Pavilions recently, you may have noticed changes.
Both cafeterias now offer a new, healthier menu that includes seasoned salmon, steaks and chicken grilled to order daily. Sides include grilled vegetables and roasted potatoes. The salad bar has been enhanced to include more options, while the demonstration area offers “themed” foods such as southwestern meals or made-to-order tossed salads.
The cafeterias’ aesthetics also have been upgraded to include new cabinetry, display cases and equipment. The result is a warmer, brighter atmosphere, says Dave Maffeo, Senior Director, Support Services.
“Our goal was to create a more inviting environment that is enjoyable for our customers,” he says. “We are also pleased to partner with our food suppliers to offer a greater variety of local, sustainable fruits and veggies that benefit the health and wellbeing of our patients, visitors and staff.”
Maffeo notes that fried food offerings are still available upon customer request.
In addition, Facilities and Support Services has been hard at work preparing a new outdoor seating area for diners– the ground-floor courtyard between the Menino and Dowling buildings. The patio was recently power washed and soon will be furnished with tables, umbrellas and chairs to enable seating for more than 40 people. Beginning in late June, the courtyard will be open during lunch hours (11 a.m.-2 p.m.) throughout the summer to all patients, visitors and staff.
The opening of the outdoor seating area is part of BMC’s employee engagement efforts, says Maffeo.
“We wanted to give staff a place where they can take a break and enjoy a meal with their colleagues,” says Maffeo. “The courtyard is a perfect place to take in fresh air and sunshine.”
Improving customer services
Facilities and Support Services has been working on other initiatives to enhance the campus, including:
Name: Cheri Leach Scott, LSWA
What brought you to BMC?
What do you do here?
What is the most interesting thing about being a social worker?
What is unique about working in this role at a hospital?
What has been your most rewarding experience at BMC?
Do you know a staff member who should be profiled? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patients share their BMC experience
I was one of the many patients you saw April 16. I was running in the Boston Marathon and had to call it quits at mile 24. I went to the medical tent and ended up in Boston Medical Center’s Emergency Department.
From the ambulance transport to the moment I was discharged, I cannot say enough positive things about my experience with your department that day. Unfortunately, I can only remember one name: Becky. Becky was the nurse that took care of me during my six-plus hours in the ER that night. I ended up having sodium and magnesium pumped into me for some serious dehydration that occurred on race day.
I wanted to write Becky and all those who were on staff Marathon Monday night to send a big thanks. I was freaked out and my parents, who were also with me, were quite concerned, but Becky and the gang made us feel quite at ease throughout the whole process.
So, on behalf of my parents and myself, thanks again for being such warm souls. And thanks for the medical attention and treatment.
Vinci named Interim Chief and Chair of Pediatrics
Walsh honors Kimball, James at Celebration of Women in Healthcare
BMC Team Takes Steps
Bradford Towne joins BMC
Towne is a graduate of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. After graduating from dental school, he served three years in the United States Army. He completed his residency training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina in 1983, and then practiced in Vermont until 2011. He is a Fellow of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and served on their Board of Trustees from 1997 through 2001. He is a Fellow of the American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the American Dental Society of Anesthesiology. Towne is Board Certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and the National Dental Board of Anesthesiology.
Bill Bicknell, 1936-2012
Bicknell, who died June 5 at his home in Marshfield, Mass., was the founder and chair emeritus of the Department of International Health at BUSPH and helped grow the department into a globally recognized leader. He held a dual appointment at BU School of Medicine as a professor and director of international health programs in the Department of Family Medicine.
Diagnosed in 2010 with metastatic lung cancer that eventually spread to his brain, Bicknell detailed his fight with methodical precision in blog updates and in a poignant final lecture. On May 2, Bicknell returned to the BU Medical Campus to deliver "Lessons Learned from a Life in Public Health," a no-holds-barred personal recap of his experiences furthering public health in 62 countries.
BMC has earned a national distinction for excellence in patient safety. The hospital was honored with an “A” Hospital Safety Score, the highest achievable grade, by the Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits. The Leapfrog Group measured BMC, and more than 2,600 other U.S. hospitals, using publicly reported data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. Leapfrog then assigned Hospital Safety Scores, ranging from A to F, to each hospital based on that data. Visit www.hospitalsafetyscore.org to see BMC’s scores.
Edward Feinberg, MD, MPH, a BMC ophthalmologist, and Megan Sandel, MD, MPH, a BMC pediatrician, both received Educator of the Year awards, presented by the Committee on Faculty Affairs at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). The award recognizes BUSM faculty who provide excellence in teaching and mentoring.
Feinberg, Professor and Chair Emeritus, Ophthalmology, received the award in the clinical sciences category. He joined BUSM in 1999 as medical director for vitreoretinal surgery and was Chair and Chief of Ophthalmology at BMC for seven years.
Sandel, Associate Professor, Pediatrics, received the award in the preclinical sciences category. Sandel became a BUSM faculty member in 2002 and is a nationally recognized expert on children’s health.