Here’s a Hospital Where Quality Care is about More Than Just Benchmarks and Metrics!

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It’s no secret that community hospitals around the country are struggling, and many partner with larger organizations to remain financially viable and provide their communities with seamless access to care.

By ensuring that people in smaller communities can receive the services they need close to home while being able to easily transfer to a larger facility for advanced levels of care, the system approach has become crucial to the future of U.S. healthcare.

Just south of Richmond, Va., John Randolph Medical Center is a 147-bed community hospital, serving Hopewell, Colonial Heights, Petersburg, and surrounding areas. The hospital has been in the community since 1915, and today, it is part of the larger HCA Virginia health system.

Suzanne Jackson, the hospital’s chief executive officer, is committed to preserving community health and leveraging the larger system to benefit patients in John Randolph’s service area.

“People like to stay close to home, and they should be able to,” she said. “Larger systems are able to support smaller community hospitals and have systems in place to provide access to higher levels of care smoothly.”

Engaging employees and staff for a culture of compassion

Having a reputation for quality is essential to any community hospital. With deep connections among staff, nurses, and physicians, cultivating a culture of compassion and employee engagement has been a critical part of John Randolph’s recent initiatives.

“Many people who work here were born in this hospital or have family members who receive care here,” Jackson said. “We have a team committed and are passionate about providing patient-centered care with empathy and compassion. We want all patients to feel as though they are part of our family.”

After implementing major initiatives in quality improvement, the hospital has received numerous awards and recognition for its efforts. Jackson said communication was a key element in any new endeavor when she came to the hospital a little over a year ago.

“Patient experience is affected by communication, whether between physicians and nurses, caregivers and patients, or nurses and ancillary staff,” she said. “We needed to get staff and physicians to the table and establish processes that promote communication and transparency.”

Employee engagement has been a top priority as well. With a small staff, every person makes a difference in patient care, and Jackson works to recognize those contributions.

“Each role and each individual is important in the delivery of care,” she said. “When human capital is what makes you who you are, any turnover can be painful and create an opportunity for breaks in the system. But we are fortunate to have a hospital whose culture embraces the value of every role.”

Promoting quality and patient experience

As is the trend across the United States, the community surrounding John Randolph has a growing demographic with more comorbidities and chronic diseases, while the hospital has limited resources.

“We have been focused on investing and understanding John Randolph in the community,” Jackson said. “We are making sure we have the resources we need to take care of patients and are providing the right services.”

The hospital has achieved hip and knee disease-specific accreditation from the Joint Commission and has achieved the highest scores on core measures for inpatient and outpatient services for several consecutive years. The hospital was also recognized as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for 2013 by the Joint Commission.

These achievements are no small feat for a community hospital. With lower volumes, any mistake has a huge effect on scores.

“We have to do it right every time,” Jackson said. “We have to ensure stopgaps are in place. It is hardwired as part of our culture, and we foster an environment of collaboration across all caregivers and all departments, not just clinical teams.”

Improving access through facility renovations

In addition to quality efforts, the hospital is undergoing major renovations to improve access and the patient experience. For example, John Randolph is creating a wellness pavilion that will house inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services together in a therapeutic environment. A new outpatient entrance is underway, along with landscaping, call lights in the parking lot, and other security and beautification projects.

Inside the hospital, an upgraded magnetic resonance imaging system has been installed, and nurses’ stations in some areas are being renovated. John Randolph is also in the midst of implementing an electronic health record and computerized physician order entry.

Jackson plans to continue focusing on quality and strengthening employee engagement, physician engagement, and the hospital’s connection with community partners. Major changes are happening at the hospital, bolstering its commitment to residents of the local community.

“If we focus on quality, everything else comes with it,” she said. “We will continue to ensure we have the right services conveniently available to our community and work with our sister hospitals for smooth transitions of care.”

-by Patricia Chaney

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