Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Magnificent Day for a New Magnet

Wow! We have been waiting for this day for a long time at GRMC. Our new magnetic resonance imager (MRI) arrived yesterday! As they say, a picture is often worth a 1,000 words. And given my blog posts sometimes get a little long, how about a few pictures instead?

This new unit will be awesome for our patients.

Special thanks to all the people making this happen: especially our imaging, facilities, and communication staff; Ball Construction and all their subcontractors; the good folks at Hitachi; and of course all the donors who helped raise over $320,000!

Thank you all to the power of 1.5 Tesla!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

'Twas the night before, the night before Christmas

It's December 23 and things are beginning to quiet down around the medical center. I just completed a walk through. Just like any other day, doctors and nurses are working to get people well enough to go home. Just before Christmas, however, this effort is even more important. Hospitals are, of course, not the place you ever want to be, especially on the big holiday.
There were a couple of babies up in OB; one due on Christmas apparently decided having a birthday on Christmas may not be fun and so decided today was the day! Lots of smiles all around from Mom, Dad, and it looked like very proud grandparents. Surgery was quiet, the ICU and inpatient floors are also a little less busy... I dare say even the ER was "relaxed." (We never use the 'quiet' word in the ER because as soon as you do, it gets crazy busy!)
Of course, hospitals never close! Every day of every year, we're here, ready for whatever life throws at people. Dedicated team members working for hospitals take their turn working when most folks are home with their families on each and every holiday. It is mostly the direct caregivers and those that support the care here on the holidays. It's our nurses and patient techs, the doctors, the folks in dietary, lab, radiology, surgery, respiratory therapy, admitting, and those that keep the place clean and the building functioning properly. These are the committed men and women who make a difference in the lives of those unfortunate to need the care of a hospital on these special days. We try our best to recognize this is a necessary sacrifice; so we have a holiday meal for everyone working at GRMC on Christmas. We pay folks a little more and we say, "Thanks!"
Indeed, thank you to each of the very special people that come in to work the holidays so the community may be well served no matter what day it happens to be when illness or injury strikes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Great Things That Happened at GRMC...

Happy Holidays from Grinnell Regional Medical Center.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pretty Good Company…

Grinnell Regional Medical Center was recently named one of the nation’s top hospitals according to The Leapfrog Group. In fact, GRMC is only one of five rural hospitals around the country to achieve The Leapfrog Group’s top rural hospital status for 2010.

Traveling with me to attend the annual meeting of The Leapfrog Group was Susan Witt, chair of the GRMC board of directors, and Dr. Laura VanCleve, president of the GRMC medical staff. After receiving the award on behalf of GRMC, we reflected on this extraordinary accomplishment.

First and foremost, we are all extremely proud of the women and men who achieved this recognition for GRMC. Led by Suzanne Cooner, the entire GRMC team is committed to the providing patient services that are of high quality, focused on patient safety, and at the lowest cost possible.

We also noted that GRMC was named with some very impressive company. Other hospitals recognized as “top hospitals” by The Leapfrog Group include some of the icons of healthcare institutions in our country, such as all three Mayo Clinic Hospitals in Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona; 16 Kaiser Permanente Hospitals and the Stanford Hospitals and Clinics in California; Beth Israel and the Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in Boston; the University of Michigan Health System; Sentara in Virginia; and Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., just to name a few!

Finally, we were impressed with the focus on quality care and patient safety. This is the hallmark of The Leapfrog Group. One of the “Founding Frogs” is Lucian Leape, MD, an internationally recognized patient safety guru and Harvard professor. Leapfrog’s expert panel includes Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, critical care physician and professor at Johns Hopkins; David Bates, MD, a practicing internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard professor; John Brinkmeyer, MD, a surgeon with the University of Michigan Medical School; and Charles Denham, MD, founder of the Texas Medical Institute of Technology and patient safety expert. There is little doubt these folks are some of the best minds focused on improving healthcare in hospitals today.

The educational sessions we attended were geared 100 percent toward patient safety and improved quality. They made it clear that although much has been accomplished over the first ten years of The Leapfrog Group in encouraging standard setting and transparency, there is still much to do. They pledged that each year, their standards would become more widespread and demanding as they push for even greater performance for healthcare in our country.

This recognition is such a team effort. Every member of the staff must be giving their best to provide the level of care and safety that this kind of recognition merits. Of course, medical and nursing staff fit that bill most openly, but it includes everyone who supports them, too. At GRMC, we truly strive for a culture of quality and safety and this recognition acknowledges everyone’s hard work to make it a reality.

You can learn more about The Leapfrog Group at their website.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Taking the leap was worth the effort!

As noted in an earlier blog, GRMC was recognized by the Leapfrog Group as one of their 2010 Top Hospitals this week in Washington, D.C. Leapfrog is a coalition of large purchasers of healthcare and is celebrating ten years since their “Founding Frogs” penned the idea on the back of a napkin about an effort to improve quality, patient safety, and efficiency in American healthcare. Some of the companies involved in this mission include General Electric, General Motors, Boeing, IBM, and FedEx.

We met Rebecca Dunk, senior manager, Health and Welfare Benefits for Cedar Rapids based AEGON, who currently serves on Leapfrog’s board of directors. She noted the basic mission of Leapfrog is to have employers leverage their purchasing power to demand public transparency from hospitals. Only then will people be able to compare hospitals on safety, quality, and cost and then select the one that is best for their families. She is responsible for the 15,000 employees nationally who work for AEGON and simply wants the best quality and lowest cost for these employees.

I certainly have been aware of Leapfrog over the past decade, but only recently was compelled to have GRMC fill out their hospital survey after hearing healthcare governance guru Jamie Orlikoff speak about the value of their survey in the board room. Jamie also serves on the Virginia Mason Medical Center board in Seattle, Wash. He argues the survey helps the board of his hospital by tracking the performance to the Leapfrog standards and benchmarks, and then gives them opportunity to make improvements. Only several days after we received the results of our survey and presented the information to our board for the first time were we informed by Leapfrog we attained the top decile ranking for their rural hospital survey. This is only the second year Leapfrog has recognized Top Rural Hospitals and this year there were five hospitals from around the country that attained the top one percent rating.

I am sure glad we took the “leap” and filled out their survey. Although pleased about our top 1 percent rating, the survey process gives us opportunities to make further improvements and our team at GRMC already is making efforts for additional improvements.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

GRMC Named One of Nation's Leading Hospitals

I'm getting ready to fly back to Iowa this afternoon from Washington, D.C. I've been here for the annual meeting of The Leapfrog Group where Susan Witt, our GRMC board chair, Dr. Laura VanCleve, the GRMC medical staff president, and myself, represented GRMC today as it was named one of the top five rural hospitals in the nation. I have a lot more to share about this event and the award itself. In the meantime, here's a link to the GRMC website to learn more.

This award is a testament to all GRMC staff, medical staff, and volunteers, and the incredible attention to patient safety and quality of care they provide. More to come...