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Center (DMC) has been awarded the Healthcare Organization of the Month for March 2014 by the Studer Group.
Center (DMC) has been awarded the Healthcare Organization of the Month for March 2014 by the Studer Group.

DMC Awarded Healthcare Organization of the Month

Dale Medical Center (DMC) has been awarded the Healthcare Organization of the Month for March 2014 by the Studer Group. The Studer Group is an outcomes firm that implements evidence-based leadership systems that help hundreds of organizations obtain and sustain outstanding results in clinical, operational and service excellence. This distinction is awarded only to those healthcare organizations across the United States that demonstrate marked improvements in patient satisfaction, employee workplace experience as well as reinvesting back into their respective communities.

Dale Medical Center is an eighty nine (89) bed rural acute care community hospital that also provides 24 hour Emergency Room service in Ozark Alabama. Since its inception in 1952, Dale Medical Center has grown from being just an acute care hospital to include an Ambulatory Surgery Center, STATMED Urgent Care Clinic, Therapy Plus Outpatient Rehab, Community Hospice, Home Health Agency, multiple physician practices, and a 25 bed Geriatric and Adult Behavioral Health Unit.

Dale Medical Center began a renewed journey and focus directed at providing their patients and their families an excellent experience in November 2012 when they partnered with the Studer Group. DMC's patient satisfaction scores were improving; however, they were doing so at a slower than desired pace and lacked sustainability as focus shifted within the organization. Through extensive staff training and implementation of new processes and behaviors within the organization, great improvements have been realized over the last year. Because processes and systems are being "hardwired" within the organization and consistently practiced Dale Medical Center has realized sustained double digit increases in their outcome scores.

"This award serves as an acknowledgement of the unified efforts by DMC's physicians and employees to take our hospital to a higher level of care. It is exciting to see the increased engagement of our staff as we transform into a culture of always and not optionality. A hospital administrator once said that some members of a community might feel that the hospital in the next town is better than the local hospital. Our staff won't accept that opinion and are committed, that given the opportunity, we will deliver the type of care we all would want and expect - for ourselves and for our families," said Vernon Johnson, CEO.

Among the practices being hardwired resulting in improved outcomes include:

•Hourly Rounding on their patients.

•Utilizing Key Words at Key times for improved communications.

•Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explain, and Thank You is practiced with each patient encounter.

•Quarterly Leadership Development Institutes for professional development and growth.

•Employee Development Institutes for professional development and growth.

•Quarterly Staff Townhall Meetings improved communications within the organization.

•Implementation of LEM (Leadership Evaluation Manager) for improved accountability.

•Scheduled Monthly Meetings with all leaders to monitor progress towards organizational goals and improved communication.

•Employee Appreciation Events.

•Employee Recognition.

•Callbacks after discharge to improve patient outcomes and recovery.

•Thank you Notes to physicians and staff for positive actions and results.

•Weekly Newsletter for improved communication within organization.

•Employee Engagement Surveys conducted twice year to identify opportunities to improve work environment.

Dale Medical Center has been and will continue to strive to go above and beyond to connect with our patient's priorities and achieve service excellence. The ultimate goal is to make healthcare better for the people of the community; and a better workplace for employees and for the physicians who practice at the hospital. Areas of dramatic improvement over the past year include:

Improved Patient Care

•Reduction in falls from 16.9 to 3.79 per 1000 patient days.

•Reduction in unplanned readmissions from 19.61% to 8.59%

•Improved from 20 core quality measures at 100% to 37 core quality measures at 100%.

Improved Service

•Overall Rating improved from 17th percentile in 4Q12 to 80th percentile in 4Q13.

•Moved from 1/8 HCAHPS Composites greater than the 75th percentile to 7/8 composites above the 75th percentile.

•HCAHPS composite "Communication about Medications" from 4th percentile 1Q13 to 80th percentile 4Q13.

•HCAHPS composite "Communication with Doctors" from 10th percentile 1Q13 to 82nd percentile in 4Q13.

•HCAHPS composite "Managing Pain" from 4th percentile 1Q13 to 95th percentile in 4Q13.

•Named Healthcare Organization of the Month by Studer Group in March, 2014.

"Being selected as the Healthcare Organization of the Month is a great honor earned by every member of our team," said Johnson. "We are fortunate to have a talented, professional staff and physicians that strive to continually achieve outstanding clinical outcomes and high patient satisfaction scores. This award marks the beginning of greater things to come. We have made great improvements, but we have so much more we want to accomplish. On behalf of the staff and physicians of DMC, we are deeply honored to have been chosen as the Studer Group's Healthcare Organization of the Month," says Johnson.
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