One of my many college roommates, Mark, graduated with a perfect, straight-A GPA. In those days the grade point average indicating perfection was a 4.0. He worked harder than anyone I had ever known, and hardly took even a few minute break from studying. For all intents and purposes, he had virtually NO social life, and, except for the occasional pinochle game and a coke-and-pizza break between study sessions, Mark was 100 percent committed to perfection in his grades. As he became more and more sure of himself over the years, he would walk into our apartment and yell out, “Another day, another A!” and mean just that.
One of the greatest challenges of my life has been finding those measuring sticks that quantify our accomplishments. In fact, the quest to solve just that ongoing problem has caused me plenty of sleepless nights. I know, for example, that the infrastructure established for our research institute was so singularly unique, so perfect, so incredible that it should become an international model. In fact, when the National Cancer Institute evaluated just one aspect of the institute, they indicated that the tissue repository was “The Only Platinum Quality Tissue Repository in the United States.”
As my time away from the hospital and research institute quickly approaches twelve months, my passion for the accomplishments that we experienced there has become even more clear to me, but where is Judge Simon when you need him? How do you grade them? Worse yet, how does one convince his former peers that the design that grew out of the ideas that became the philosophy of our hospital should be treasured as a new way to achieve perfection on multiple levels? …Another Day. Another A.
Having an infection rate that never went above 1 percent; an extremely low length of stay (3.2 days); low readmission rates, low restraint rates, unbelievably low litigation rates that almost didn’t register on the charts at all.
If your CFO is reading this, simply add the following to each one of those accomplishments . . . $$$. How does a small hospital in Western PA with one major health care plan produce a bottom line in excess of $2M? More importantly, why wouldn’t every hospital administrator want to adopt these approaches?
So what’s the “secret sauce?” We did this by working endlessly to create a truly healing environment, not to be confused with simply doing our jobs well . . . that was a given. We all had to do our jobs well, AND create an environment that fostered a healing atmosphere.
People actually got a chance to begin the healing process. By eliminating overhead paging, permitting loved ones to stay over with 24 hour visiting, as well as pet, aroma, music, and humor therapies, integrative medicine, kindness, a commitment to nurturing, patient centered care and a total commitment to the creation of an optimal healing environment, we began to see outcomes that were previously thought to be literally unthinkable.
Another day. Another A.