Taking Stock: The Infant and Children’s Hospital Accomplishments of 2013
Danielle Laraque, MD, FAAP
Chair, Department of Pediatrics
VP, Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital of Brooklyn
The end of the 2013 year is a good time to take stock of where we are, where we have been and what we have achieved as well as setting our sights for where we want to go in the New Year of 2014.
Where have we been?
We began the 2013 year having completed a strategic plan in 2012. That plan used as its foundation our Mission, Vision and Values to serve children and families in any setting (outpatient, inpatient, community at large), to provide a continuum of care, to provide an experience that nurtured children at times of stress, and supported their families by including them in the planning of care during illness but also in ways that allowed them to continuously promote their child’s health. We partnered with community physician faculty to achieve this end. The plan focused on our ability to communicate effectively with each other as we care for our children and to communicate with children and families from all walks of life, from a multitude of cultures, expressing themselves in a multitude of languages. It required that we examine new ways to coordinate that care through effective team work and a culture of respect. It required that we take stock of our successes and our failures so that we might move forward. I thank all of you, our interdisciplinary team, for helping us to do this.
Where are we?
So, at the end of this challenging 2013 year, where have we been and where have we arrived? We began the year with a good energy. We set out to train our staff and faculty in a teamwork system process (TeamSTEPPS) designed for health care professionals to improve patient safety within the organization, to improve communication and transfer these skills. We trained over 40 interdisciplinary faculty inclusive of executive leadership, all division leaders and faculty and staff master trainers. Most importantly, we have begun to use the methods of briefing – talking to each other in the planning process – huddling – during the process of care and debriefing – reviewing what went well and what could have been improved. Terms, such as situational awareness, are beginning to embed our conversations to let each other know of what is going on and to practice active listening. Our peer review process has been inclusive, open, but at times difficult as we struggle through changing the culture to steer away from blame, but certainly together take responsibility for the care of our patients, and to improve.
In 2013, we said goodbye to some long term faculty and welcomed new faculty who have brought energy, enthusiasm and new perspectives. We reaffirmed our commitment to holistic care by understanding that we must care for the whole child with equal attention to physical and socio-emotional health. We must recommit to all of our goals even as we face challenging financial times. We must recommit to a changing paradigm that moves us to think differently about the organization of health care and the needs of our patients and communities. An executive summary of the 2013 achievements is included in a Sharepoint site available to MMC faculty and staff and includes e.g. expanding access by opening up evening and Saturday clinics, improving the patient and physician experience by more smoothly transferring patients to our facilities, increasing screening of our teens for depression symptoms in order to more readily identify their needs and link them to vital mental health services, joining community partners that address behavioral needs of children and teens, and improving our internal communications through information technology.
Last week we joined in our annual Holiday party to celebrate and recommit to each other and our Mission. I was heartened by the joy that I saw around me, and the next day a few remarked to me that I looked happy –and indeed I was – for together we can achieve anything.
Where do we want to go?
So, what are the challenges of the 2014 New Year? They certainly include continuing to deliver excellence in care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults through the best science, humanistic care, as well as, mastering team work processes that support safety, a family-centered approach respectful of all participants –and most of all – that places the child at the center of our focus. Let us commit ourselves to this with humility. Hard work, it is, but together we can do it! Stay tune for our 2014 priorities to be highlighted in the newsletter and the various staff/faculty meetings. Please check our website at www.maimonidesmed.org to view ongoing activities and new programs. Thank you and Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.