LDI Celebrates UM Hospital’s Improvement Award

The final 2011 gathering of the quarterly Leadership Development Institute kicked off on a high note last week when Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., announced that University of Miami Hospital received one of Press Ganey’s Top Improver Awards.

The Dean shared the news by reading the award letter to UHealth leaders and managers attending the 14th LDI, and for good reason. The LDIs are designed in part to showcase and celebrate UHealth’s successes in implementing the UCare patient-centered service initiative, making the last one of the year the ideal forum to share the mounting evidence that the system-wide emphasis on enhancing patient satisfaction is paying off.

“University of Miami Hospital achieved this distinction by demonstrating continuous improvement in patient satisfaction performance over a two year period, and was among the top 5 percent on overall improvement in its respective database,’’ the Dean said, quoting the letter K. Robert Draughon, CEO of the nation’s largest patient survey company, sent to Anthony Degina, CEO of UMH. “Yours is one of only 18 organizations to be recognized in 2011 for attaining this outstanding level of performance.’’

Calling the achievement “extraordinarily important,’’ the Dean invited all UMH employees to the stage for a round of applause. “Remember that having great patient-centric care in a hospital saves lives,’’ he said. “It has been demonstrated in evidence-based research that if you really focus on delivering patient-centric care you optimize your systems, you optimize the patient experience and the outcome of the patient … and the quality of your hospital is substantially improved.’’

The good news was followed by a frank reminder from Stuart A. Miller, the UM trustee and executive board member whose family donated $100 million to name the medical school in 2004, that there’s always need for improvement. By way of example, the chairman of the Miller School’s Momentum 2 Medical Campaign Leadership Committee recounted how, when he arrived in the UMH lobby that very morning uncertain where the LDI was being held, he encountered an unfriendly person at the reception desk.

“It fell on me right at that moment that this is one tough place to provide extraordinary service, and to do it on a consistent basis and to do it again and again and again for everyone with all of their personal baggage,’’ Miller said.

Saying his “baggage” was simply being lost for a friendly gathering, Miller noted that patients equally unfamiliar with UMH often arrive filled with anxiety and trepidation, and need a warm welcome and reassuring hand as much as they need great health care. He ended his remarks by exhorting the UHealth/Miller School community to “bring it up a notch” to ensure that every person who visits a UHealth facility leaves with a positive impression. He also applauded the LDI for its continuing pursuit of excellence.

“At the end of the day, we are judged by each and every action that we bring to the table at that moment,” he said. “I applaud you all for the great things that you do. I applaud you even more for coming together in a seminar like this to say that no matter what we do, no matter how great we are, no matter how many people we’ve cured, no matter how many we have helped, there’s still room for improvement.’’

Other presenters at the 14th LDI, which was first held December 1 and repeated on December 2, included Velma Davis, M.S.N., R.N., director of nursing on UMH’s 7th floor, and Pam Solow, assistant director of radiology, who shared new tactics they learned at Press Ganey and Studer Group national conferences, and Steven Lipshultz, M.D., professor and chair of pediatrics, executive associate dean for child health and chief of staff at Holtz Children’s Hospital, who gave an overview of the myriad services offered at Holtz.

The first LDI of 2012 is slated for March 8 and 9, with other quarterly sessions scheduled for June 14 and 15, September 27 and 28, and December 6 and 7.

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