May 22, 2009

VMC held up as a model of patient-centered care

VMC held up as a model of patient-centered care

Vanderbilt Medical Center is exceptional in helping patients and their families participate as partners of the health care team, according to a report by the Picker Institute, an organization dedicated to advancing patient-centered health care.

The authors state that, at VMC:

• “Patients and families are involved in multiple levels of the organization, including policy, planning and the direct provision of care.

• “Open visitation and the inclusion of families in rounding and medical education opportunities are becoming increasingly commonplace.

• “Advanced information technology is used to engage patients.”

• There is “senior leadership support for a total culture transformation focused on the patient.”

The report is part of a series of case studies – Profiles of High-Performing Patient- and Family-Centered Academic Medical Centers, available through of a section of the Picker Web site devoted to research ( The report’s authors visited the Medical Center last year to learn about Vanderbilt’s approach to patient- and family-centered care.

Terrell Smith is Vanderbilt's director of Patient and Family Centered Care.

Terrell Smith is Vanderbilt's director of Patient and Family Centered Care.

“Improved efficiency means we have patients on campus for shorter periods than previously, and while we’ve got them we have to give them whatever information they may need,” said Terrell Smith, Vanderbilt’s director of Patient and Family Centered Care. “I think the profile shows how an academic medical center can really be patient- and family-centered, and how we’re changing the ways we engage patients and families in care.”

According to Picker, the components of patient- and family-centered care include respect for patients’ values and preferences, coordination and continuity of care, patient education, physical comfort and emotional support.

VMC was one of six centers selected by Picker for its series. Selections were based on a range of criteria, including expert opinion and patient opinion as publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (

The other centers featured in Picker’s series are Harborview Medical Center (Seattle), Medical College of Georgia (Augusta), State University of New York (Syracuse), University of Colorado Hospital (Aurora) and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.