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Physician Council seeks to enhance VUMC’s clinical excellence efforts

Jun. 11, 2015, 9:32 AM

Communication is a two-way street, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Physician Council for Clinical Service Excellence, formed in 2011, uses its monthly meetings to share ideas, come up with new ones, and take institutional information back to their practices.

The 30-member council, serving staggered two-year terms, is a group of VUMC physicians who have achieved top scores in patient satisfaction. The group has representation from every department.

So far the council has: launched the Medical Center’s first orientation program for new providers; provided input for the School of Medicine to evaluate and revise its job promotion criteria for clinical faculty, putting this career track on more even footing with the school’s career tracks for researchers and educators; and is considering a recognition program for physicians demonstrating clinical excellence.

“The Physician Council is a remarkable group of extraordinary physicians who regularly provide meaningful observations about ‘what’s right’ and ‘what can be better’ at the Medical Center,” said Paul Sternberg Jr., M.D., chief medical officer at VUMC, chief patient experience and service officer and chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.

“It is a true privilege to work with them as they demonstrate a profound commitment to the continued excellence of our clinical enterprise. They serve as terrific role models for all of us, and I know they will continue to be torchbearers throughout the organization to drive improvement.”

Brian Carlson, MBA, MHSA, director of Access and Patient Experience and staff facilitator for the council, said the group serves as both a “think tank” and a “feedback forum” for physicians who provide excellent care for their patients.

“We hope that they take the information from the meetings back to those they practice with and around and disseminate the information,” Carlson said. “We use feedback from this group to judge how it’s going and what we might be missing.”

Carlson said the committee is seeing results from its input. At one recent meeting, council members told Neal Patel, M.D., professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Clinical Anesthesiology and associate professor of Biomedical Informatics, that StarPanel, Vanderbilt’s Web-based clinical information tool, had become too cluttered with information that is not crucial in caring for the patient.

“The ‘all documents’ tab had gotten very cluttered, and now Dr. Patel’s group is working to separate out the non-clinical information from that tab, and into one of its own.”

Patel attended the last meeting to report on the decluttering progress.

Meg Rush, professor of Clinical Pediatrics and chief of staff of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, serves as a co-chair, and Andre Churchwell, M.D., senior associate dean of Diversity and professor of Medicine, Radiology and Radiological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering, is vice-chair.

Beginning next month, a new VUMC Reporter series will profile some of VUMC’s outstanding clinical providers.

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