In the month that we celebrate our 75th anniversary, the West Georgia Health team is excited to be recognized as the Studer Group’s Health Care Organization of the Month for August 2012. During our first 60 years, we grew from a 65-bed community hospital to an integrated regional health system comprised of many components: a 276-bed flagship hospital; two nursing homes with a combined total of 262 beds, a regional cancer clinic, a regional heart clinic, a home care agency serving four counties, a hospice home care agency serving five counties and a 16-bed hospice house.
While this growth in bricks and mortar has been significant for the region we serve, our biggest transformation has occurred over the past six years as we have embraced our “Above and Beyond” culture change that has resulted from our partnership with the Studer Group.
We began our engagement with the Studer Group in October 2006, and have implemented virtually every tactic our coaches have recommended. We continue to provide leadership training through quarterly, two-day LDI sessions, introducing new concepts to our leaders, rolling them out to our staff and following up to ensure hardwiring of our initiatives throughout the organization. We also continue regular on-site sessions with our Studer coaches to help us improve our quality, processes and patient/physician satisfaction in areas that we target for improvement.
Our HCAHPS scores demonstrate the significant strides our team has achieved in six short years:
Our improvements in employee engagement are equally impressive:
These achievements didn’t occur overnight; rather, they are the result of a journey driven by a unified team of leaders and employees who have been relentless in their quest for excellence in patient care. Our structure is supported by six pillars:
Everything we undertake is based on at least one of these pillars, and we have implemented numerous tactics to help us arrive at the current point in our journey. Among them:
Standards of Behavior that have been adopted by each of our 1400+ staff members.
AIDET training that has been hardwired throughout the organization.
Hourly patient rounding by the nursing staff during the day; bi-hourly rounding at night to include the four Ps – Pain, Potty, Position, Possessions. Because this one step proactively addresses patient problems and concerns, it has significantly reduced the rate of falls, hospital-acquired decubitus ulcers, and the number of call lights sent to the nurses’ stations.
Daily patient rounding by the manager of each nursing unit to verify that the nursing staff is rounding and that the patients and their families are reviewing their educational materials
Discharge calls that help the nurses assess each patient post discharge, asking critical questions such as:
Have you followed up with your physician?
Have you picked up/taken your medications?
Are you experiencing any pain?
Are you experiencing any issues that require medical attention?
Employee rounding to ensure that our staff members’ needs are being met and that conditions exist to propel excellence.
Physician rounding to ensure that our physicians’ needs are being met, that they have the necessary tools to perform their jobs, and that they feel like valued team members.
High-Middle-Low performer conversations and appropriate actions.
White boards in every patient room to enhance communication with nursing. Each board displays the names of the employee team members taking care of that patient, the patient’s projected discharge date; any concerns the patient or family may have for the care team and the discharge plan, when appropriate.
In addition to being selected Health Care Organization of the Month for Augusts 2012, the Studer Group has recognized West Georgia Health in the last two years for:
Excellence in Patient Care for Pain Control in 2012
Excellence in Patient Care for Communication regarding Medications in 2011
Excellence in Patient Care for Long-Term Care/Home Care in 2011.
We are honored to have been selected as the current Health Care Organization of the Month, but we will not rest on our laurels. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Studer Group and making even greater strides as we forge ahead on our journey to go “Above and Beyond.”