November 20, 2008

Putting the Patient First

As much as I believe we currently have a very broken system of health care in this country that is in urgent need of healing; when I see an organization that is doing right by the patient and families it serves, I readily applaud their success. Such is the case with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. While not part of the mega-Partners Healthcare group in the Boston area, they have been an institution at the fore of patient centered care, being one of the first hospitals in the country to institute primary care nursing over 30 years ago. I regularly follow the blog written by the CEO of BIDMC, Paul Levy. Through his blog, Running a Hospital, he has added transparency, humanness and compassion to the commonly hidden world of hospital administration. He has also helped to create a culture of cooperation and patient centered care among hospital staff that is truly remarkable. This culture of cooperation is evident by the following letter from a patient Paul Levy posted on his blog:

"As far as I'm concerned, you can take all those posted quality metrics and throw them out the window when you get a letter like this one that I received from a patient:

BIDMC is a special place. The nursing care deflates your stress about being
in the hospital. The doctor's talent makes you believe you have the best
possible care. The atmosphere makes you feel that people like their jobs and
feel invested in them, so you feel that everybody is paying attention, whether
they are cleaners, food service, transport, department heads, trustees.I
especially noticed the employees' investment in their jobs. (NURSE: "Doctor, I
noticed you are testing Ms. X for TB. If we believe she might have TB, should we
institute those protocols now?" TRANSPORT: "The nurses are really busy. I'll
reconnect your oxygen so you can go back to bed and I'll tell them that I did."
NURSE: Let's not wait for the bed to be changed. I want it to be dry for you
when you have these fevers." She changed the bed and me three times that
night.)Symbol of cooperation regardless of rank or function: Nobody left my room
without taking my meal tray with them.

Posted by Paul Levy at 11/20/2008 10:28:00 AM"

Wow!!!!! All I can say is kudos to Paul Levy and the staff at BIDMC for creating and maintaining a culture of cooperation and compassion and showing us that it is possible.