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Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center

  • Location: Charleston, SC
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: December 2010

Like the beautiful city in which it resides, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and its Medical Center combine its historical heritage and current vibrancy to serve the people of South Carolina and beyond through patient care, health care education, and research.

Established in 1824 as the first medical school in the South, MUSC is the only comprehensive academic health sciences center in South Carolina, offering educational programs in basic biomedical sciences, dentistry, health professions, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy. These programs are centered on the 50 plus acre campus in Charleston, but through collaborations with sister institutions, selected academic programs are available throughout South Carolina.

MUSC scientists are at the forefront of discovery in a wide range of areas, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and substance abuse. Outside support for this research has grown at a phenomenal pace, with more than $200 million in research funding annually, with half coming from the National Institutes of Health.

An economic impact analysis provides a glimpse of what MUSC means to the local and state economy. This snap shot, although a static picture of the economic contribution made by MUSC in 2007, provides an understanding of the institution's role in the greater state and local economies. For fiscal year 2007, 29,567 jobs were credited to the presence of the academic university, hospital, and University Medical Associates (faculty physicians). The combined payroll was almost $1 billion. MUSC's estimated $2.3 billion impact includes both direct spending and the effect those dollars have as they ripple through the economy. While a new study has not been conducted, it is likely these estimates have significantly increased in the last three years.

The MUSC Medical Center was opened in 1955 and has since grown to encompass seven patient care towers providing world-class care, including: University Hospital, Storm Eye Institute, Children's Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry, Hollings Cancer Center, Rutledge Tower and Ashley River Tower. MUSC clinicians provide cutting edge care that is nationally recognized for its quality. Each year, the Medical Center admits almost 38,000 patients to its hospitals and more than 965,000 patients visit MUSC outpatient facilities.

MUSC Medical Center has grown not only in size but in quality of care and reputation. Some of the highlights from 2009 -10 include:

  1. Awarded National Research Corporation's Consumer Choice Award for the 13th consecutive year.
  2. Recognized as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in seven specialty areas by US News and World Reports. (Rheumatology, Children's Heart, Digestive Diseases, Nephrology, ENT, Gynecology and Pulmonary)
  3. One of 27 hospitals nationally to receive the American Heart Association's Gold Triple Performance Achievement Award (stroke, coronary artery disease and heart failure)
  4. More than 300 physicians on the Best Doctors in America list
  5. Included in "America's Best Children's Hospitals" by U.S. News and World Report
  6. Received the state's only National Cancer Institute designation
  7. Listed in the top 10% of "America's Best Hospitals" for nursing care by U.S. News and World Report

In early 2006 the MUSC Medical Center partnered with the Studer Group to pursue MUSC Excellence and create a great place for patients to receive care, for staff to work and for physicians and other clinicians to practice and teach.

Highlights of our journey include:

People – We began with the introduction of leader rounding on employees and thank you notes. Behavioral and peer interviewing and follow up with new employees at 30 and 90 days came next. As a result we have celebrated a 34% drop in employee turnover from a high of 18.8% to 12.6%. Our active Reward and Recognition Team created and maintains a system to celebrate Employees and Physicians of the Month. Introducing these individuals at our quarterly Town Halls has proven to be one of the most valued segments of the meetings.

Service – Prior to adoption of AIDET to provide structure to key words at key times and the creation of Service Excellence Teams throughout our organization our patient satisfaction scores were at the 40th and 48th percentile for inpatient and physician practice visits, respectively. Most recently our patients rated us at the 82nd and 88th percentiles, respectively, and at the 93rd percentile on HCAPHS related to ‘Overall Rating of the Hospital – 9-10'. We're especially proud of some of our areas such as the Heart and Vascular Center and the Pediatric Emergency Department who have been consistently above the 90th percentile for over two years and our Children's Hospital which has sustained results at the 99th percentile for 3 of the last 4 quarters. Our Service Teams have played a key role, whether it's supporting the implementation of an organization wide initiative such as AIDET or developing specially targeted initiatives like towels folded into the shape of turtles to welcome newly admitted pediatric patients and their families.

Quality – At the core of our pursuit of MUSC Excellence are the clinical outcomes that we are able to achieve for our patients. The most important evidence based leadership practice that we've adopted to achieve our results has been leaders rounding on patients; every patient every day. This leader activity coupled with hourly rounding and bedside shift report has helped to drive results on our global goal of improved mortality index. We benchmark our performance against 180 other academic medical centers in the University Healthcare Consortium (UHC). During our partnership with the Studer Group we have been pleased to see our ranking climb 67% from the 48th percentile to the 80th! Aligned individual leader goals have been a critical component in focusing our leaders on the specific outcomes required of their areas in order for the Medical Center to achieve this target.

Finance – Despite a challenging financial year in 2008 related to expense incurred prior to revenue flow related to opening a new bed tower, the Medical Center is on stable financial ground and actively preparing for changes in reimbursement on the horizon. Alignment of organization and leader goals has been one of the keys to effectively responding to challenges as they arise.

Growth – While other providers in our area have struggled to maintain utilization of their beds, the Medical Center's struggles have focused on having sufficient available beds to respond to demand. We are proud to have the opportunity to make a difference in so many lives!

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