By Michael O’Connell, MHA, FACMPE, FACHE, CAHL Immediate Past President
Every person has a set of core values and beliefs that he/she follows each day. Like any key value, they are something for which we must aspire to and they take time, effort, and energy to achieve. It is important to reflect on our core values and beliefs and what we hope to accomplish both today and in the future through them. Here are some core key values and beliefs that I believe are part of CAHL’s vision.
“In action and attitude, the patient will be at the center of everything we do.”
Our patients are the reason for the work that we do and serve as the reason for our existence. However, there are many times that we become non-patient centric in the way we act, behave, or deliver our care. We need to continuously remind ourselves that our patients choose to have their healthcare services from us, their trusted provider, based upon our quality medical care, exceptional access, innovations (pioneering new ways to practice medicine) and affordability. It’s an ongoing process and requires a dedicated team working together to achieve our values and beliefs. I encourage you to network with other CAHL members outside of your current work-related colleagues to better understand how different organization’s key values help shape their strategies and operations.
Please look at ways that you can put your values and beliefs into practice with every patient interaction. And please share with me ways that you see us putting those values into action. I’d love to hear from you at email@example.com.
“We will engage all members of the team to ensure patient centered care.”
You may have heard the expression “It takes a village to help a person thrive in their community.” It takes a team of caregivers, front-line staff, support staff, administrators and vendors to provide the necessary healthcare for patients throughout their encounter with us. We are committed to a multi-disciplinary approach. Think about all the people involved in a patient’s care from start to finish. There’s the medical receptionist who answers the phone and schedules the appointment followed by the person who confirms the appointment, verifies the insurance, obtains care authorizations as needed, etc. When we use the computer system, think about all the Information Technology people who support that system with their back-end processes. When we see the patient in our facility, we involve the medical assistant, RN/LPN, therapists, along with the advanced practice provider or physician. The information technology system is supported by a Health Information Management staff who may abstract and/or index information into the system. If blood work, an x-ray, or Echo needs to be performed, there are staff to perform those functions. When the patient checks out or is discharged, there is the person who schedules the next appointment and collects any past due balances. As the visit is documented and the charges are billed, the corporate office staff are submitting the claim, validating the CPT and ICD-10 codes, posting the payment, and dropping the bill to the insurer and/or patient. We use appropriate service in working with the patient and are committed to managing up our team members. And there are the vendors and suppliers who support these functions and any consultants who may provide additional advice and support.
“We will institute process improvement to improve consistency and reliability.”
Process improvement is part of any health care organization and we are always looking for ways to improve consistency and reliability. The patient wants to know that they can rely on our organization to deliver their care in a safe, effective and reliable basis. It goes without saying that we pay attention to what we measure. That’s why we use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), dashboards, and scorecards for patient experience and employee engagement and we’re compared to other providers and practitioners throughout the US via surveys. These results help us to learn and grow in our efforts to care for the patient and hear directly from the patient, in a confidential way, on how we can improve and be better. While our goal is to perform at the 90th percentile, we are looking at ways to improve incrementally and show progress over time. The processes are rooted in process improvement and we must structure our day around our patients and how we can better serve their needs. We want our patients to rely on us to deliver to them the service they expect and deserve. We want our patients to know that they can depend on us to explain what services we are performing, how long it will take, the reason for the service, and how the service will be communicated to them in the future, if needed. For example, if we are going to register them as a new patient, they need to know what information we will need, how long it will take, and how this information will help us to care for the them in the future. Our patients need to understand the “why” in our services and care. Our reliability and consistency reinforce that we are highly reliable organizations and demonstrates a strong commitment to service.
I’m energized to see the many CAHL members contribute to our work with their inspiring values and beliefs and it gives me hope that we can together incorporate them into our daily practices. With patients at the center of everything we do, we, as a team, can ensure that patient centered care is provided with consistency and reliability. It’s a daily challenge and guides me in being a serving leader.
Please know that the CAHL Board of Directors values you as members of our organization and I welcome any insights you have on how we can continue to meet your professional healthcare needs.