At its core, Remaking American Medicine is a glimpse into the type of health care we can all have. It is about the pioneering work of providers, patients and their families, private purchasers, government agencies and others committed to making health care in America safe, evidence-based, efficient and effective. We call these people and organizations Champions of Change. Because there are many more stories about these groups and individuals than can be told in a four hour television series we’ll be featuring them here and in other areas of the Web site. Learning from others is an important aspect in the drive to remake American medicine. At the conclusion of each Champion of Change story is contact information provided for follow up.
Alan Knight doesn’t wear a white coat and stethoscope, but he does push a cart in a hospital corridor in the wee hours. He is intensely interested in employee and patient well being and year-round, he’s a beacon for the sleep-starved employees working the night shift.
Knight is the CEO of Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and he and his senior management staff make “executive rounds” in the hospital and off-site facilities once a month. This allows them to see what is transpiring on the front lines of patient care.
He offers employees’ pizza and soda and a chance to chat about what’s going on in their departments. They also discuss issues related to patient care, quality and safety, and he updates them on the hospital’s financial status.
“As the local health care environment continues to evolve and change at a rapid pace, open communication between senior leaders and staff is critical to the success of hospitals,” Knight says. “Jordan Hospital has experienced great successes across many areas in recent years and our employees have been an integral part of these achievements.” Knight attributes this to his regular “town meetings”.
It’s a huge time commitment, but one that Knight deems necessary to reinforce safety in the workplace, to ensure the quality and continuity of patient care and to confirm his pledge to open communication.
Because Knight and his team can see problems or hear complaints directly they are able to institute changes that impact the quality of health care. Recent improvements include adding security in the Emergency Room during late night shifts, designing silent waiting areas and installing mirrors in blind spots for safely transporting patients.
Through open communication, Mr. Knight has found a way for issues to be brought directly to managers who can make necessary changes, and at the same time empower employees to make a difference.
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