All St. Luke’s employees, physicians, and patients, and family members and others who participate in the care of St. Luke’s patients, have a role to play as we continue our transformation and work to deliver accountable care.
Here are the top five things you can do:
Promote Patient and Caregiver Satisfaction
When I was at the hospital with my daughter two days after my outpatient knee surgery, the nurses brought in a reclining chair so that I could elevate my leg. They also offered me a bag of ice for my knee.
But I was particularly moved by the genuine caring and compassion that I noticed when all the staff – nurses, nursing assistants, resident physicians, chaplains, lab techs, etc. – interacted with my daughter. It was the smiles on their faces, the hand-holding, the things that let patients and their families know that we truly care.
Not all employees are bedside caregivers. Those who are not still make a difference. I remember the friendly faces of the people in registration, in the cafeteria, the volunteers in the gift shop, the security guard, and many others every bit as much as I remember my care team.
We are depending on all of you to learn AIDET and how to manage up, and to put these habits into daily practice. They work!
Take time to explain things and remember that many patients and families are too shy or respectful of your time to ask you all their questions. Encourage them to ask you questions. Make sure that you answer their questions without using a lot of medical jargon.
And AIDET and managing up are for you, too. I have seen this in action as a family member and as a patient, and it instills great confidence when another physician is consulted or is covering for you.
If there is something that is on your mind but you are uncomfortable asking the physician, ask your nurse, or ask your nurse to be present when you talk to the physician. And give us your ideas for how we can improve. You have a unique and very valuable perspective that we need to hear!
Improve Patient Safety
Make sure patients are educated regarding fall risks, medication risks, and infection risks. Make sure that you are following our hand-washing protocols. And make sure that you prevent exposure to patients by keeping up on your own health and preventative measures. Make sure that you get your flu shot every year!
And take time to explain medications to patients and caregivers, so that they will know what to expect or what signs should be a concern.
Ask questions about treatments and medications, and anything else that concerns you. You are a partner in your own care, and having you be well-informed will increase the likelihood of the best possible outcome.
Take an Active Role in Your Own Health
Maybe you are just going to commit to walking or riding your bike for 10 minutes a day. Maybe you are going to make healthier food choices and are going to start by drinking more water and eliminating carbonated soft drinks and alcohol, or high-calorie desserts.
Regardless, set small, attainable goals (you can adjust them as you progress) and have an accountability partner. Tell your physician what your goals are, and ask for help and suggestions.
Promote Prevention and Health Screenings
And don’t forget your own families. Remember, you can’t be there for patients unless you are taking care of yourself.
Help Us Reduce Costs
Help us identify waste throughout the organization and ways that we can eliminate it, or if not possible, at least reduce it.
Physicians, you can be a tremendous help in our efforts to lower supply costs. When we standardize supplies, we lower costs, promote efficiency, and make errors less likely.
Make sure you take all your medications as you and your physician have discussed, and that you contact your physician with any questions, or if any symptoms are worsening or you are developing new symptoms.
Attend Spring Forums
Here's a sixth thing physicians and employees can do:
I’ll be hosting spring forums for physicians, employees, and volunteers starting April 10 in McCall and finishing April 18 in our Shoreline building. I look forward to spending time with you and continuing our discussion. Details are available in The Weekly and on our Intranet home page.
There is much more to do, but this will be a great start. We are on a journey, and we will get there faster if we all do our part!
David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.