In one of the grand lobbies of one of America’s top hospitals is the slogan, “Patients First.”
Last month, I toured the sprawling state-of-the-art main campus of the Cleveland Clinic with medical colleagues from B.C. Founded in 1921, it is a non-profit organization and the second largest group medical practice in the U.S. (after the Mayo Clinic). Each of its 3000 physicians are salaried but hired on one-year contracts. Every physician is subject to an annual professional review to hold everyone accountable to the goals of the organization.
The motto, “Patients First” represents a commitment to each patient. This refers not only to the highest standard of clinical care (“Every life deserves world class care.”) but patient-centred values encompassing their physical, emotional and spiritual experiences in healthcare.
Our tour was sponsored by the Practice Support Program which has been bringing evidence-based, quality improvement innovations to the physicians of British Columbia. The triple aims of the program are to (1) improve the healthcare experience (for both patients and providers), (2) improve patient outcomes (quality and safety) and (3) be sustainable.
On our two-day tour, I was able to see first hand how the Cleveland Clinic had created a more patient-centred organization. These included the HUSH (Help Us Support Healing) campaign to create a quiet hospital environment at nighttime, the Ask 3/Teach 3 program to ensure that patients are given clear education about their medications, purposeful hourly nurse rounding on each patient, and the No Pass Zone policy (No employees should walk by a room with an unanswered call bell without checking in on the patient – even if it is not their patient).
The Cleveland Clinic knows that these practices have improved patients’ experiences. As with most American hospitals, patients are surveyed after they leave the hospital. I wonder how our clinics and hospitals would fare if we imported this practice?
Included in the Practice Support Programs I am teaching my colleagues are patient surveys. This can help us assess how we’re doing from our patients’ perspective, where we need improvement and whether practice changes have made a significant difference.
In upcoming posts, I’ll elaborate on these and other innovative ideas that may be coming soon to a hospital or clinic near you.