Hello, all! I am Kevin Unger, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital … and I’m temporarily hijacking Rulon’s blog to share an experience I had yesterday (July 8), which is actually today (July 9) in Fort Collins.
I am in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I lost a day by crossing the international date line. (I know I may be opening the way to becoming the subject of fun quips around the office, but I am so confused–after crossing so many time zones–about what day and time it is!)
I am attending the Asian Pacific Quality Healthcare Conference. I gave a speech yesterday to people from India, Australia, Belgium, Indonesia, Omen, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, etc. The conference was ceremoniously kicked off by Dato Mohd. Azizan Bin Che Omar, the Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-Operative and Consumerism. Say his name and title three time fast!
He was introduced with the Mission Impossible theme blaring away, and his talk included banging a gong several times. I think Rulon could learn a thing or two from Mr. Omar!
I was quickly struck by how similar all of our issues are throughout the world as they relate to healthcare services.
Everyone here is grappling with the same question as we are at Poudre Valley Health System: How to provide high-quality care that meets the needs of their populations at a reasonable cost.
Patient satisfaction is front and center in everything providers are trying to achieve around the world. Every country at the conference, for example, struggles with non-emergent patients using their emergency department as their primary care provider … And the list goes on and on.
My topic was the PVHS Journey To Performance Excellence using the Baldrige Model. (PVHS received the 2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a congress-created award to honor the nation’s best performing organizations. )
Guess what song was playing when I was introduced? The Eye of the Tiger!
I spoke for an hour and took an hour and a half of questions. I kid you not, for 90 minutes, they asked questions about how we have been so successful. Here are just a few of the many topics that we covered:
–Many conference attendees were amazed that we have more than 800 volunteers from the community who assist in making PVHS world class. Most countries start a volunteer program, but they fade away within a month or two after being launched. One lady commented they usually have a volunteer program until that volunteer dies.
–Many at the conference also couldn’t believe we have physicians who truly care about quality. There was a great conversation about the power-distance that exists between physicians and staff in the Asian countries. This gap deters patient care and makes working on a quality agenda difficult.
–They wanted to better understand our human resources department and what our behavior standards are, and how our organization expects from each staff member the same quality of high work and interaction with patients, colleagues, physicians, vendors, and others.
–Many at the conference are struggling with electronic health records. Several persons from Kuala Lumpur spoke about their paperless, completely electronic hospitals and difficult challenges they have faced in increased time needed to document from the paper model to the completely electronic model.
–Some noted they had done away with their waiting rooms–anticipating greater efficiency–but now are having trouble with overcrowding.
–They were impressed with our Learn and Lead program–the strategtic effort that we use to inform and train our more than 400 leaders at PVHS (directors, managers and others who have employees reporting to them). Learn and Lead is one of many training and education programs we offer to employees, volunteers and physicians.
–There was also discussion about how we work to make sure every employee and volunteer understands how they contribute to our overall mission and vision of the organization through the use of goal cards that each person has attached to his or her work identification card.
Asia Pacific Quality Healthcare Conference
Throughout the conference PVHS has been held up as the benchmark for what the rest of the world is working to achieve–truly world-class service!
I am honored to have the privilege of being at this conference and representing our organization, employees, volunteers, and physicians. I hope they all feel as proud as I do about the level of quality produced every single day within our health system. As I’ve learned here, many others in the world are certainly impressed by PVHS!
With best wishes to you … blogging from Kuala Lumpur … this is Kevin Unger!
(This blog was written Kevin Unger, president and CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital, owned and operated in Fort Collins, Colo., by Poudre Valley Health System. Rulon Stacey, president and CEO of the health system, will return soon to writing this blog.)
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