URMC Embarks on Patient- and Family-Centered Care Mission

Patient- and Family-Centered CareURMC is embarking on a new commitment to patient- and family-centered care, representing a more disciplined effort to involve all faculty and staff that will complement its established focus on quality, safety, and service excellence.

“When we take time to listen and involve patients and families as integral members of the care team and necessary participants in the treatment plan, we restore to them a sense of autonomy that’s so vital to successful recovery,” said URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D. 

“We launched our Strong Commitment service excellence program in 2005,” said Steven Goldstein, CEO of Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals. “What’s fundamentally different now is that we’re shifting our management plan so that it engages both faculty and staff in a hospital-wide effort to deliver patient- and family-centered care. We anticipate that this concerted approach – with everyone focusing on the same issues – will transform our organization and raise satisfaction to a new level.”

“Patient- and family-centered care integrates all the traditional customer-service elements we’ve focused on in the past, and then goes a step further, asking patients to partner with us as active participants in their own care,” said Jackie Beckerman, director of the Strong Commitment program. “Not only does it improve patient, family and staff satisfaction – it produces better outcomes.”

Engaging Physicians

In recent years, we’ve witnessed an incredible shift towards transparency in health care evidenced by initiatives such as Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), which standardize and report patients’ opinions of hospital care nationwide, and government regulations compelling hospitals to track and publish data about how effectively they prevent hospital-acquired infections.

“This mandatory quality reporting allows customers to comparison shop for hospitals, even for specific physicians,” said PFCC medical director Jean Joseph, M.D., who is leading physicians along the journey to more routinely engage patients and families in the care process.

“As outcome, process and satisfaction data become more readily available, we plan to move ahead of the trend, getting in the habit of sharing this information with individual providers and giving them the tools they need to improve their scores,” Joseph said. “Data doesn’t lie, and having the buy-in of our physicians is critical to us making patient- and family-centered care work here at Strong.”     

The ‘Human Side’ of Medicine

Inspired by a harrowing bicycling accident and time spent as a patient himself, Berk sees health care reform as a real opportunity to return to the human side of medicine.
Since he’s been back at the helm, he’s delivered dozens of lectures on the power of compassionate care. He’s also pushed for a more formal effort around patient-centeredness.

“While it might sound like a lofty ideal, patient- and family-centered care is highly practical and confers great safety advantages,” Berk said.

For instance, involving a patient in education about his own medicines empowers him to watch for potential side-effects and complications. And putting stock in a spouse’s instincts when he or she simply “senses” something is wrong with their loved one can enhance clinical decision-making.

“We’re braced for real change. Improved efficiency, empowered patients, greater staff engagement, safer hospitals, fewer readmissions – they’re all interwoven,” Berk said. “We have to transform the entire patient experience. It’s about practicing the kind of health care that we’d want for ourselves and our families.”

Click here to learn more about how Golisano Children’s Hospital is embracing the concept of family-centered care to involve and empower families.

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