December 21, 2007

Meeting reinforces need to share elevate program’s successes

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Harry Jacobson, M.D., talks about elevate goals at last week’s meeting. (photo by Neil Brake)

Meeting reinforces need to share elevate program’s successes

Vanderbilt has made significant strides to improve clinical quality, service, patient and employee satisfaction, and financial results, and Medical Center managers at all levels need to celebrate these achievements with their staff, health care consultant Greg Nelson said at last week's Leadership Development Institute.

The Medical Center's ongoing series of quarterly management seminars serves as a foundation for elevate, the wide-ranging VUMC improvement effort. Approximately 700 managers attended the daylong seminar.

“Let's make sure we capture the wins, because we are the best media, we are the best word of mouth,” Nelson said at the conclusion of his 90-minute keynote address.

Communication was the day's theme. Nelson reminded the audience that accountability is the foundation of elevate, and that when it comes to communication, “The real deal is how you all communicate what you learn here to the rest of the organization”

The day began with progress updates from Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, and Steve Gabbe, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine.

“Here, and with our teams, all of us should on a regular basis be talking about where we are relative to our goals,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson said VUMC achieved an 86 percent success rate in meeting fiscal 2007 goals for improved scores on publicly reported quality measures, and that the 2008 goal is to be in the top 10 percent in the nation on each publicly reported quality measure.

Jacobson said Vanderbilt met its fiscal 2007 goals for reduced mortality and for increased reporting of medical errors and near misses, but failed to reach goals for reduction in adverse drug events. He said Vanderbilt is outpacing other top hospitals in improving care for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and prevention of post-surgical infections.

“I'm very proud of that,” Jacobson said. “The most important thing to remember about quality is it's every one of our jobs; it's embedded in what we do.”

VUMC fields seven ongoing patient satisfaction surveys, and in fiscal 2007, Vanderbilt finished in the top 10 percent in the nation on patient perceptions of quality of care on four out of those surveys. Vanderbilt finished in the top 5 percent in the nation, in four out of its seven surveys, on the patient's likelihood to recommend the hospital/clinic/ED to others.

Jacobson said VUMC has the nation's fastest growing biomedical research program. In 2006, the School of Medicine ranked 12th in the nation in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, up from a ranking of 24th in 2000. The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center ranked seventh in the nation in total research awards from the National Cancer Institute.

Jacobson's progress report also touched on employee satisfaction and retention, scholarly output, hospital and clinic growth, and financial results.

Following the keynote address, the seminar broke into small sessions. Break-out sessions tailored for faculty examined one-on-one communication up and down the chain of command, and case studies covering various aspects of professional communication.

Other sessions examined the implications of generational differences for the workplace; how to address unprofessional and disruptive behavior, one professional to another; the role trust plays in effective leadership, and ways that managers can maintain the trust of their teams; communication barriers in the workplace; and how to communicate financial matters.