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Avoid 'cookbook medicine' to put patients first

Posted Jun 19 2013 3:04pm

by Nancy Peed

When Peach Regional Medical Center (PRMC) was recognized by the Georgia Hospital Association's Partnership for Health and Accountability Core Measures Honor Roll, we viewed the award as a testimony to the exemplary patient care our employees provide on a daily basis.

I am a firm believer that healthcare workers want to do the right thing. They are personally concerned with doing what is best for the patient, and are motivated to achieve positive outcomes. That innate desire is the basis for implementing core measures.

Implementing best practices often fails, however, when we give physicians and clinicians a list of things to do but fail to explain the reasons why.

For the past decade, PRMC has sought to break away from the idea of "cookbook medicine" by tailoring the messages we sent to our employees. We consciously transitioned from using language that discussed Joint Commission requirements, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requirements, and payer requirements. Instead, we began to develop the idea that core measures are the right thing to do for the patient. We took the time to show our clinicians the literature and the documentation that proves core measures are best practices.

Through individualized education that begins at employee orientation, our employees learn the best practices to achieve better outcomes and shorter lengths of stay. Our medical director, Crystal Brown, also has been instrumental in educating physicians on best practices. We have slowed down to tailor our message to different audiences to ensure that it is well received.

Anytime you implement an initiative, you will face obstacles. But the obstacle is usually a knowledge deficit. By taking the time to individualize education and teach the reason behind the requirement, we have increased understanding and therefore, buy-in and engagement. I believe organizations that struggle with implementing core measures simply need to overcome obstacles in communication.

In taking the time to communicate the reasons behind best practices, we have created a culture at PRMC that consistently puts the patient first. We have moved from being on individual teams--the respiratory team, the nursing team, the lab team--to realizing that everyone is a part of the patient care team. Implementing core measures has become the standard of care at PRMC. It's expected in how we treat our patients.

Nancy Peed serves as the CEO of The Medical Center of Peach County (Ga.), formerly Peach Regional Medical Center. She has served the residents of Peach and the surrounding counties in that role since 1996.

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