Henry County Hospital has a long history of delivering quality care and service to the residents of Henry County. The hospital began in 1919 staffed by one physician and one nurse, many expansions, and one relocation later the hospital continues to serve the residents of Henry County. Henry County Hospital is now a 25 bed critical access hospital which employs 244 staff members, 72 active volunteers, 374 auxiliary members with 12 active medical staff members, and 64 courtesy and consulting medical staff members.
The Staff of Henry County Hospital began the journey from good to GREAT in August of 2007 with the launching of Anchoring Excellence. The journey began when three members of the leadership team attended "Taking You and Your Organization to the Next Level" and returned to implement the "Five Must Have's". After several months it was determined that while the strategies appear to be simple and common sense, implementation was not as easy as first thought. So the leadership team decided to enlist the assistance of a Studer Coach and RaNae Wright joined the team. With RaNae's guidance and feedback, the results have continued to improve over the last three years.
As a result of the anchoring excellence journey you can see and hear the passion throughout the organization. Recently, when touring a potential physician through the building, he commented that he felt something unique here. He noticed that as he went from department to department that all of the staff had introduced themselves using AIDET. Early in the journey a link to purpose was added to the quarterly employee forums and a letter from a grateful patient was read. Initially finding letters from grateful patients was a challenge, now there are so many to choose from that they all cannot be read at each forum. While leadership training predates the anchoring excellence journey, managers did not always look forward to the experience. Now managers anticipate the next LDI so that new tools and techniques can be learned to improve the environment for staff and the care and service provided for patients.
Part of the success of the anchoring excellence initiative has been the structure that has been established. The six pillars (people, quality, service, finance, growth, and community) are reflected repeatedly throughout the organization. The pillars can be seen in committee agendas, CEO monthly report, departmental pillar bulletin boards, the strategic plan, and the Leadership Evaluation Model (LEM). This keeps the entire organization focused on what needs to occur in order to be successful. The pillars have been arranged based on order of importance and focus.
The People pillar has been strengthened through leader rounding. Through rounding, two way communications has increased significantly. Leaders are able to harvest suggestions for improvement and reinforce strategies such as discharge phone calls, the use of AIDET, and Key Words at Key Times. The most significant and the most difficult strategy that has been implemented is the concept of High-Middle-Low performers. The ability to identify low performers with associated strategies to move them up or out of the organization has permitted the middle and high performers to improve their performance and impact on the organization. In 2009 Henry County Hospital completed the first employee satisfaction survey in over ten years with an 80 percent completion rate.
The Service pillar has seen dramatic changes. The use of Key Words at Key Times and AIDET not only improve the patients' perception of care, but improves the quality of the care provided. These strategies decrease the fear and anxiety that patient's often experience in healthcare settings. Therefore their ability to participate in their own care increases. The "Would You Recommend" scores for Birthing Care Services and Inpatient Care Services is consistently at the 100th percentile.
The Quality pillar has also seen significant improvements. The use of ‘who, what, by when' creates an accountability that gets results. In 2010, for the first time, the core measures combined score reached 100%. The culture of accountability is reflected throughout the organization through the use of the LEM and ninety day plans. The administrative team now uses the LEM as the weekly meeting agenda which has dramatically improved the team's ability to stay focused on strategic issues.
The Finance pillar has also experienced success. While profit during this economic downturn is challenging it is even more important to focus on cash. Days of cash on hand reached the highest in the hospital's history, and days in accounts receivable the lowest. In addition, employees had an opportunity to provide input to cost saving and revenue enhancing strategies in the spring of 2009. All employees were invited to a gallery walk to share suggestions and recommendations. Many suggestions were implemented, and the brainstormed list is still being reviewed for opportunities.
The Growth pillar was a focus in 2009 and 2010 at the department level. Initially the use of pre visit phone calls were implemented in order to decrease the no show rates in a variety of departments. The medical Imaging department saw a dramatic reduction in cancellations. In 2011 department managers are asked to narrow the focus of growth to specific tests or procedures and plan strategies through the use of the LEM and ninety day plans.
The Community pillar has improved the focus of community initiatives. The LEM requires that the goals be measureable which forces identification of what really needs to be accomplished. The strategic goal for community has been identified to increase the hospital's community benefit contribution. Therefore the tactics have become more focused and less soft. In addition, the CEO now rounds on community leaders using the same basic rounding questions. The response from community leaders has been positive and the visits value added allowing for more opportunities for collaboration.
The Anchoring Excellence journey at Henry County Hospital has just begun. While implementation of all of the ‘Must Haves' have occurred, second generation implementation is occurring. Second generation implementation adds that added touch of excellence for each and every patient each and every time. The success of Anchoring Excellence could not have happened without a dedicated staff that has the passion to work in a demanding, challenging, and constant changing environment. The journey of good to GREAT continues thanks to each and every one of the staff, medical staff members, and volunteers.