Pediatric waiting room
PHOTOS: COURTESY TUCSON MEDICAL CENTER
Patient Engagement for Better Care By Mary Minor Davis The goal of Tucson Medical Center is to deliver caring, personalized, quality healthcare to patients and their families. To accomplish this goal, Judy Rich, TMC president and CEO, said the organization has implemented a new patient engagement philosophy that challenges traditional hospital thinking. Known as Nothing Happens To Me Without Me, the program is a twopronged approach to improving the patient experience in both administrative and patient care arenas. Rich said the premise is simple – include patients in decisions about their care because they are the ones most affected. “We have a tendency to think in healthcare that we have the answers to the problems,” she said. “We forget that we need to include the patient and the family in the solution.” On the administrative side, TMC has engaged with patients who have had both positive and negative experiences at the hospital and asked them to participate in patient advisory councils. Working hand-in-hand with hospital officials, they work on project teams to evaluate, recommend and even implement improvements to facilities, processes and patient programs. Linda Wojtowicz, former COO for TMC and one of the architects of the program, said about a dozen patient volunteers – nominated by members of the management team throughout the hospital – meet quarterly as a group and work within project teams throughout the year. Committees review processes, physical space, overall quality of care and any other ideas that are offered to improve the patient experience. As an example, a beautiful design element was incorporated into the master plan for the renovation of the pediatric waiting room. But when the advisory council reviewed it, they discovered that the element created a visual barrier for parents in keeping an eye on their children. Another project in the west wing failed to incorporate water fountains in a patient waiting room, and the project was redesigned based on the recommendation of the council. continued on page 44>>> 42 BizTucson
continued from page 41 incident. It took a village.” The new facilities have been met with high approval from patients and physicians, Wojtowicz said. “Patients are finding the OR experience very positive,” she said, adding that new surgeons are expressing interest in using the facility. The hospital has acquired new robotic technology, including the da Vinci robotic surgical system. Wojtowicz shared several of the lessons learned in making the transition to the new facility. For starters, there was the impact of the tower itself. TMC, a traditional single-level facility, had at one time held the title as the largest single-story hospital in the United States. Emergency response and evacuation procedures had to be completely rewritten and taught, as they had to incorporate stairwell egress and other factors into the plan. Staffing changes also focused on centralizing resources by floor as opposed to units for better efficiency, and the task of delivering sensitive and sophisticated supplies and equipment had to be coordinated with the operating rooms covering two floors. Among the changes was the need for training in “elevator etiquette.” “TMC staff had never had to deal with these issues,” she said. “Things like transporting patients (load head or feet first?), knowing what you should and should not say in a public elevator with a patient, who gets out first – these are all things that needed to be taught to hundreds of staff and volunteers.” New facilities are helping to grow some of the hospital’s specialty services. Anita Bach, director of cardiac services, said the ability to perform transvascular aorta valve replacement procedures and having the hybrid cardiac/ catheter operating facilities is attracting referrals from physicians. “It’s really given us the opportunity to grow the vascular program,” she said.
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