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Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center

  • Location: Greenville, SC
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: January 2011

Established in 1912, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHS) is a not-for-profit academic health organization committed to medical excellence through research and education and is accredited by the Joint Commission of Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO). It is one of the largest health systems in the Southeast and the Upstate's only academic medical center. The 1,268-bed system is home to five campuses, 14 medical residency and fellowship programs and South Carolina’s first patient simulation center. GHS provides patients a sophisticated network of expertise and technologies through its tertiary medical center, research and education facilities, community hospitals, wellness centers, physician practices and numerous specialty facilities in upstate South Carolina.

GHS has 577 active clinical trials that are investigating new therapies, medications, medical devices, vaccines or new ways of using existing treatment. Areas include oncology, pediatric oncology, women’s health, cardiology and vascular disease. GHS also participates in applied basic science to support the development of new medical devices and drug therapies in oncology, reproductive endocrinology and vascular surgery.

Organizational highlights from fiscal year 2010 include:

  • For the second year in a row, GHS’ Greenville Memorial Hospital (GMH) was ranked among the nation’s top 50 hospitals in U.S. News’ 2010-11 guide to America’s Best Hospitals. GMH ranked high in three specialties: Diabetes & Endocrinology (#25), Gastroenterology (#39) and Heart & Heart Surgery (#45). It also ranked #5 for lowest rate of readmissions.
  • GMH also received the American Stroke Association’s Get With The GuidelinesSM–Stroke (GWTG–Stroke) Silver Performance Achievement Award. The award recognizes Greenville Memorial’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.
  • According to Premier QUEST, GHS’ Hillcrest Memorial Hospital is one of the highest performing hospitals in three areas: cost of care, evidence-based care and mortality. QUEST recognizes hospitals that demonstrate excellence in quality, efficiency, consistency and safety in patient care. In addition, the hospital ranked highest in South Carolina in pneumonia care with a score of 98, as reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Hillcrest Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Trauma Center received the Studer Excellence in Patient Care Award.
  • GHS’ Patewood Memorial Hospital received the Studer Excellence in Patient Care Award for quietness on the nursing unit based on the hospital’s HCAHPS scores.
  • GHS was named among the 100 Most Wired hospitals in the nation by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine, the journal of the American Hospital Association. The list recognizes hospitals for implementation of information technology like electronic health records systems and computerized physician order entry systems. Results are based on a survey of 1,280 hospitals conducted earlier this year.
  • GHS was named “Best in Class” for its diversity efforts during the Institute for Diversity in Health Management’s 2010 National Leadership and Educational Conference in June. The award recognizes healthcare organizations that scored in the top 10 percent of the “State of Health Care Diversity and Disparities: A Benchmark Study of U.S. Hospitals.”

GHS partnered with the Studer Group and embarked on its Commitment to Excellence journey in 2009. Since then, staff has worked diligently to hardwire evidence-based practices into the organization’s culture to help ensure GHS remains a great place to receive care, for people to work and for physicians to practice.

In 2010, our goals related to six specific areas, which we describe as Pillars of Excellence. Highlights of our Commitment to Excellence journey in fiscal year 2010 include:

People Our goal was to sustain strong employee commitment as measured by our annual Employee Opinion Survey. A record 81% of employees completed the survey, and results placed GHS in the top 10 percent among healthcare facilities nationwide in employee engagement and commitment. Workforce commitment among physicians scored very high as well. Areas of strength included safety and quality, community contributions, being a good place to work and receive care, and being considered the region’s healthcare employer of choice.

Service – Our goal was to improve patient satisfaction, and our target was to achieve an overall HCAHPS rating of 71% (75th percentile). Not only did we meet our target, we exceeded it, achieving a 73% rating. One example of how we improved patient satisfaction in 2010 is through a formal discharge call program. The program, dubbed the “best five minutes in health care” or the “final hug,” reaps many benefits. Besides fielding questions and reviewing discharge and medication instructions, nurses have found that their calls boost patient satisfaction and outcomes as well as reduce readmissions and complaints. An added bonus is improved service recovery (resolution of concerns that patients have about their care).

Quality – Our goal was to improve clinical quality and safety, which we measured by our CMS All Care Measures, Patient Safety Culture Survey and hand hygiene compliance. While we exceeded our CMS All Care Measures, we did miss the mark slightly on the Patient Safety Culture Survey. We did, however, launch a system-wide hand hygiene campaign in 2010 called Germ Warfare – Join the Battle! The campaign’s purpose is to educate staff, patients and visitors about the importance of good hand hygiene and to increase hand hygiene compliance among staff. Good hand hygiene is part of GHS’ Standards of Behavior and is crucial in preventing the spread of hospital-acquired infection and illness. At present, GHS is well ahead of its hand hygiene compliance goals.

Growth – Our goal was to achieve budgeted net revenue of $1.345 million. We missed the mark slightly, achieving $1.314 million, but we did implement a number of initiatives that improved access to care. One example is GHS’ Patient Referral and Transfer Center. The center was a response, in part, to feedback from referring doctors about difficulties in getting patients to GHS. This one-stop shop for rapid referrals of trauma, emergent or routine care is accessible around the clock and staffed by registered nurses. Customer satisfaction scores are high, with 5,000+ referrals logged in its first year of operation.

Finance – Our goal was to achieve a budgeted operating margin of 2% or $31.22 million. Despite a tough economy, GHS exceeded this goal and achieved a 2.3% operating margin. This achievement was largely due to an increase in patient volumes, as well as a number of cost-saving initiatives across the system. These initiatives focused on processes to drive down prices, achieve standardization, eliminate unneeded products, improve use, maximize existing contracts, and create and maintain a competitive environment. Thanks to quick teamwork across GHS, savings exceeded $7 million!

Academics – Our goal was to strengthen academic affiliations, and in 2010 that meant moving forward with plans to expand the University of South Carolina School of Medicine program in Greenville. Third- and fourth-year medical students have trained at GHS since 1991, and this plan will expand the existing program to include first- and second-year students. The next step in the approval process, which GHS started in 2010, is to prepare a self-study for the Liaison Committee for Medical Education.

To learn more about Greenville Hospital System, visit www.ghs.org.

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