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Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital

  • Location: Downers Grove, IL
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: July 2006

Two years ago, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital was a good hospital.

The 340-bed facility located in Downers Grove, Illinois, was seated in the middle of one of the nation’s most competitive health care environments – DuPage County, suburban Chicago. Renown for its Level I Trauma Center, Level III Perinatal Services and highly acclaimed cardiac and cancer care programs, Good Samaritan Hospital was a leader in quality outcomes, employee satisfaction and financial performance. The hospital was also a leading performer in Advocate Health Care, the largest fully integrated health care delivery system in metropolitan Chicago and the state of Illinois, and was recognized as one of the top health care systems in the country.

Two years ago, Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital decided that when aspiring to a healing mission, good wasn’t good enough.

2004 marked the beginning of a resolute pursuit of organizational excellence through the launch of an initiative to move from Good to Great (G2G). The G2G initiative reflected the organization’s commitment to excellence in six key performance areas (pillars):

  • Quality
  • People
  • Service
  • Physician Partnership
  • Growth
  • Finance

In order to achieve increased organizational alignment, accountability and performance, Hospital-wide goals for each pillar were developed, then cascaded down to the department level, where more localized goals could be set.

The essence of G2G was Good Samaritan Hospital’s commitment to true excellence where:

  • Employees feel valued, and feel that their work is purposeful, worthwhile and makes a difference;
  • Physicians feel supported, and know that their patients are getting great care;
  • Patients feel cared for, and experience the service and quality they receive as extraordinary.

July 2006 marked a milestone in Good Samaritan’s pursuit of excellence with the Studer Group Fire Starter Award. This is the story of how Good Samaritan got there in two short years...

Good Samaritan launched the G2G initiative in the summer of 2004 through highly focused and strategic Leader Development Institutes that began initially to engage leaders in the Studer Group’s "Must Haves" – a critical foundation upon which they built in the coming year. The hospital executive leadership team spent a rigorous 40+ hours tightening up leaders’ goals to ensure alignment of priorities in 2005. Communication proved to be decisive, so the organization invested in the development of enhanced leadership communication tools including a G2G Leader Toolkit with everything leaders needed to get started and a monthly newsletter dedicated to sharing best practices, reinforcing Leader Development Institute messages and providing clear linkage checklists to hardwire accountability for day-to-day changes. Employee communication was also enhanced to support the growing needs. Leaders began providing context for change consistently as a standard practice, and executive leadership shared stories and patient letters to balance the anticipated resistance to increased measurement.

December marked the hospital-wide launch of the G2G initiative. Good Samaritan regarded this launch not as a new set of priorities, but rather as the beginning of an organizational cultural transformation. From the onset, employees were enrolled in a commitment to excellence that was to be comprehensive and aligned, rooted in accountability and long-term.

A remarkable 230 of their 2,400 employees chose to get involved through Service Teams that would help transform the organization’s delivery of care to our patients.

2005 was a transformational year for Good Samaritan Hospital. In addition to thoroughly training leaders in and implementing the Studer Group's "Must Haves," the hospital chose to be a beta site for the Leader Evaluation Manager (LEM), a web-based accountability tracking tool that scores leaders based on their pillar results. The tool, which allowed leaders to view one another’s results, proved to be vital in creating hardwired accountability and goal alignment throughout the organization.

The combination of precisely crafted goals in 2004 and the rollout of a transparent measurement tool, the LEM, in 2005, allowed Good Samaritan to begin to see initial results as early as mid-2005 – only one year after the launch. The Emergency Department experienced a particularly successful launch that has been sustained into 2006.

Emergency Department Satisfaction

Of the "Must Haves" Good Samaritan rolled out, the organization was particularly creative in developing and launching the Standards of Behavior – guidelines that would govern how employees would relate with patients, peers and constituents. Leaders modeled Good Samaritan’s 19 Standards of Behavior for 90 days before the Q3 rollout to establish credibility with frontline employees. Consequently, the "feel" of the organization and level of service transformed very quickly. The Standards of Behavior coupled with the other "Must Haves" began to improve the outpatient satisfaction experience.

Enrolling and training every employee in "Key Words and Key Times/AIDET" proved to be particularly important in influencing the outpatient experience.

Outpatient Satisfaction

The 2005 Institute for Health Improvement (IHI) Annual Report recognized Good Samaritan Hospital for the outstanding work being done with the "Cardiac Alert" program. With this distinction, Good Samaritan was asked to be a "mentor hospital" for the IHI, and will lead hospitals across the nation in improving their response times. Good Samaritan Hospital’s Cardiac Alert protocol has been designed to reduce the overall response time of a cardiac arrest patient to less than 60 minutes from the time the patient arrives in the Emergency Department until the first inflation of the angioplasty balloon is made in the cardiac catheterization lab. The current average response time for "cardiac alert" has been about 61 minutes. This result exceeds any other cardiac program in the area and is well below the national gold standard of 90 minutes and a national average of more than 200 minutes.

By the end of 2005, 18 months after the G2G launch, Good Samaritan Hospital had achieved the following:

  • The second best complication index in Chicagoland
  • Recognition by the Institute for Health Improvement for clinical leadership in the "100,000 Lives Saved" initiative
  • Employee satisfaction at the 98th percentile
  • High levels of patient satisfaction for inpatient and outpatient services, emergency department patients and ambulatory surgery patients
  • Achievement of the highest operating income in the hospital’s history
  • Opening of a new Critical Care Pavilion and Cancer Care Center expansion.

In 2006, Good Samaritan Hospital has sustained the progress made in the last two years and has begun to improve one of its greatest challenges – inpatient satisfaction.

Inpatient Satisfaction

The rollout of a comprehensive electronic medical record technology in February affected the patient experience for a couple of months, but clearly the inpatient experience was trending upward as a result of hardwiring the "Must Haves" and improving each of the 70+ interactions a patient has during a single hospital stay.

Quality outcomes are thriving in 2006. The complication ratio was at 0.76* versus a goal of 0.83 (actual/expected). The mortality ratio was at 0.66* versus a goal of 0.70. *Feb. ’05 – Jan. ‘06

CMS Core Measure Bundle scores continue to improve, as well:

  2004 2005 1st Quarter 2006 2006 Goal (Stretch)
Acute Myocardial Infarction 89% 96% 96% 94% (100%)
Congestive Heart Failure 73% 82% 79% 90% (98%)
Pneumonia 23% 54% 64% 59% (80%)
Surgical Infection Prevention N/A 64% 78% 72% (90%)

By implementing "Peer Interviewing" and "30- and 90-day Questions," Good Samaritan achieved in 2006 a 50 percent reduction in the percent of total turnover within the first six months of employment (42 percent to 20 percent for nurses).

President David S. Fox was invited to share Good Samaritan’s experience in pioneering the LEM at the June What’s Right in Health Care Studer Conference in Atlanta, and the organization’s leaders have consistently shared other best practices throughout the G2G initiative in service of the health care ministry.

G2G has become a way of life at Good Samaritan and is understood and embraced by most employees. Pursuit of the best possible outcomes, clinical and operational excellence has become the new standard.

Two years later, the cultural transformation they aspired to in 2004 has turned a corner and is becoming a reality.

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