June 1, 2007

Vision taking shape for Heart and Vascular Institute

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Joan Lorber asks a question during the recent Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute town hall meeting. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Vision taking shape for Heart and Vascular Institute

The second round of town hall meetings for the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute (VHVI) was held recently to update staff and faculty on progress made by the institute in further casting the vision for an elite heart program.

The meetings took place at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. so as to allow the staff on both day and night shifts to attend.

“One of the key features of our institute is integration — the integration of cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, cardiology, cardiac imaging and cardiac anesthesiology,” said Douglas Vaughan, M.D, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. He spoke to an audience of about 125 in the morning session.

In an effort to build Vanderbilt as a top-10 vascular center, a three-part program focusing on clinical care, research and training has been implemented. “Those [three] characteristics are what we're going to be made of,” Vaughan told the crowd.

A major highlight of the meeting centered on the accomplishments of the second quarter of the fiscal year. These included two successful heart stem-cell procedures, the region's first percutaneous procedure to repair ventricular septal defects (VSDs) and the affiliation with Maury Regional Hospital. VHVI began a partnership with the Columbia-based hospital in April to provide cardiovascular surgery services. Also, two new cardiac surgeons were announced at the sessions, Steve Hoff, M.D., and Betty Kim, M.D.

In addition to discussing clinical care, the VHVI leadership talked about the cardiac and vascular research initiatives.

“We've got a lot going on with surgical investigations, as well as clinically,” said Thomas Naslund, M.D., chief of Vascular Surgery.

Much attention was spent at the town hall meetings on the patient-service aspect of the VHVI. The ultimate goal of the institute is to be the national leader in customer satisfaction.

“Quality to patients is care, information and respect … quality and service are synonymous for them,” said Robin Steaban, administrative director of the VHVI. “We are in the business of customer service; it's why we're here.”

Vanderbilt's commitment to excellent service is summed up in the acronym AIDET: acknowledge, introduce, duration, explanation and thank you. The belief behind the elevate program is that decreased anxiety and increased compliance yield increased patient satisfaction, which leads to trust and confidence.

“When [patients] leave, they have a concrete idea of why they were here and what was accomplished,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., assistant professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, when he gave a presentation on AIDET.

The recent results of a telephone-based customer satisfaction survey conducted by Professional Research Consultants show that patient satisfaction is increasing, especially in the areas of staff courtesy and friendliness and the likelihood of recommendation. VHVI leaders hope that the numbers will continue to rise higher now with the implementation of AIDET.