There’s a revolution going on in health care, moving from a system of caring for the sick to improving each individual’s health and wellness. Today’s consumers are increasingly taking control of their health and collaborating as true members of health care teams — for the betterment of themselves and for their communities.
To learn more about these changes, Smart Business spoke with Diana Hendel, PharmD, the CEO of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.
How is the transformation progressing?
A major goal of health reform is the ‘Triple Aim’ of improving the quality of care, reducing costs and enhancing the patient experience. Ensuring exceptional care means continually improving patient quality, safety and satisfaction, and engaging consumers in improving their health, wellness and lifestyle.
We realized decades ago the importance of creating a more scientific approach to improving medical outcomes and of becoming a national pioneer in best-practice, evidence-based medicine. In this area, physician-led interdisciplinary teams are able to identify, create, refine and expand upon the best diagnostic, treatment and prevention for virtually every disease, illness and medical category that a patient may face. Implementing optimal clinical standards across the health system helps us achieve patient outcomes that surpass both regional and national standards.
What is the role of technology and staff?
Our early adoption of electronic medical records supports and spreads evidence-based medicine throughout our health system to our more than 2,500 affiliated physicians and 11,000 employees. The results are higher quality and safer care with clinicians able to immediately access patient records. Electronic records in physician offices and other locations ensure coordinated, seamless care for all of MemorialCare. Plus increasing numbers of consumers adopting their own personal health records through patient portals translates into more people actively participating in their health care.
We are so proud to attract extraordinary physicians, nurses and other clinicians and support staff to MemorialCare. Our significant investment in state-of-the-art facilities and in the most sophisticated medical technologies — often the only such advanced facilities and equipment in the region — allows us to detect and treat the most complex and complicated diseases and conditions.
Is the community involved in the changes?
Members of the community are engaged with us in many ways. Screenings, health prevention and educational programs are offered at our hospitals, physician practices and outpatient centers, in the community, at worksites and schools and at memorialcare.org to help consumers to improve their health and wellness. The Patient and Family Advisory Councils at each hospital offer important advice and ideas on creating new programs and enhancing current services, helping to redesign key interactions by offering the ‘voice of the customer.’ And staff-led Partnership Councils collaborate on performance improvement and on patient experience projects.
Our Hourly Patient-Family Hospital Rounds supplement the patient care provided 24/7. Each hour, someone checks in on patients, ensuring that they are comfortable and their needs are being met, thus building trusting relationships. This enhances responses and communications among patients and their caregivers, resulting in less anxious patients and improved patient and family satisfaction.
Each week, the members of the leadership team ask patients about their care, learning first-hand how we are doing and ways staff can improve the hospital and the outpatient experience. Immediately following these interactions, team members huddle with staff — celebrating the positives, sharing feedback and opportunities to improve, discussing ideas and determining next steps.
What is the current status of population health management?
For years, we have provided programs that coordinate and improve care of children and of adults in the community. As the only campus in Los Angeles and Orange counties with adult and children’s hospitals in one location, we are able to offer lifetime care for those facing chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, orthopedic issues, asthma, and scores of other diseases and conditions, thus helping consumers to take control of their health and their lives.
Our Good Life program focuses on significantly improving the health and wellness of our own employees and of their families through fitness challenges, plus nutritious offerings and support for chronic conditions. The results-driven program is extended to local employers that tap our expertise to improve the health of their own work forces with onsite screenings and seminars, executive and employee physicals and more. MemorialCare also hosts programs to help employers adapt to health care reform, assist in trimming health benefits and health care costs, and in improving productivity.
All of these activities in the areas of best-practice, evidence-based medicine, advanced technologies, improving the patient experience, management of the health of the population and providing true value in health care have proven critical to the communities that MemorialCare serves. All of these efforts will continue to result in extraordinary quality, proven treatments and comprehensive care that are continually raising medical standards and ensure that MemorialCare remains a national leader in transforming health care.
Diana Hendel, PharmD, is CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The hospitals are part of MemorialCare Health System, a not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system that also includes Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente; MemorialCare Medical Group; Greater Newport Physicians, an Independent Practice Association (IPA); MemorialCare HealthExpress retail clinics; and numerous outpatient health centers throughout the Southland. For information, go to memorialcare.com.
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