The year 2016 was an exciting year at Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics, one we are proud of and wanted to take this opportunity to share some of our successes with you, our community. Optimism abounds.
Improvement in quality scores. As with so many things at Gundersen Boscobel, our quality scores in many areas are moving in the right direction: Up. One such score we are particularly proud of is the iVantage Hospital Strength index, where we moved from a score of 29.6 in 2015 to 60.7 in 2016—markedly better. Most notably, this means we are now one of just 13 rural hospitals in the top quartile of all three of the most important quality matrixes: quality, outcomes and patient satisfaction. It should be noted that this rating, as with most, is from an independent organization, so we can be confident in its objectivity.
Another significant improvement in 2016 includes the increase in preventative screenings provided. "Working toward achieving the Patient-Centered Medical Home certification, we have focused on working with patients to look forward in their healthcare, having plans and setting goals—not just reacting to medical crises," explains Kelsey Lund, director of Quality Services at Gundersen Boscobel. One such indicator is in the number of patients who now follow through on having necessary colon cancer screenings, a number which has increased by 17% over the past year. This improvement can be partially contributed to assisting patients in making necessary follow up and future appointments prior to leaving the clinic after being seen by a primary provider. "Working together, we achieve quality care, and the patients receive the benefit of that quality," Kelsey concludes.
Healthy balance sheet. As in any business, a healthy balance sheet allows an organization to complete facility updates, invest in staff, improve equipment and give everyone the peace of mind that things are moving in the right direction. Throughout 2016, the positive financial situation at Gundersen Boscobel allowed us to continue to make progress on all of these fronts.
"We have worked hard to achieve, and now maintain and grow our fiscal health," states Melissa Uselman, chief financial officer at Gundersen Boscobel. "It is exciting all of the doors that our financial stability has opened." Stability of the local hospital is a key component in ensuring the permanence of it as a critical community resource.
Facility updates. Facilities are always a key to providing a quality care experience, and 2016 gave us the opportunity to complete some projects that have been in planning for years. The hospital's lower hallways, as well as the cafeteria, received a facelift. The neutral color scheme and sleek flooring immediately updated the look and feel of that entire section of the hospital, and we look forward to bringing similar changes to other portions of the facility in the not-too-distant future.
The Rehab department also received a remodel, complete with a restructuring of the space and fresh décor, including new flooring. It was a much-needed improvement that has seen considerable use since its completion in June. "Our patients cannot be more thankful for the new surroundings in which they now receive their therapy services. It has greatly improved the patient care experience," shares Robyn Moritz, director of Gundersen Boscobel Rehab Services.
Finally, there have been several clinic updates to modernize and update interiors, the most recent of which was the installation of a 50-inch digital signage monitor in the Boscobel Clinic for patients to become informed about programs and services offered at Gundersen Boscobel. With the recent completion of the purchase of the Boscobel clinic building, even more such improvements are to come in 2017.
Improvement initiatives. The leadership team prompted some exciting improvement initiatives in 2016, the first of which was the implementation of A3 projects. A3 is a process improvement tool that is staff driven, and therefore offers a completely different perspective from the norm. Each department was tasked with completing a minimum of two A3 projects, and each staff member was asked to participate in at least one, many of which were outside their own areas of expertise, striving for a cross-departmental collaboration. It seemed to be both a positive and productive experience for all.
Reaching New Heights was another new initiative that kicked off in March 2016, with the entire staff being trained on how to "connect the dots" on our journey to excellence. The training was intended to improve employee and patient satisfaction, as well as improve clinical care, and focused on empowerment. It, too, led to some employee-driven teams that have implemented some exciting new initiatives, such as our Grateful Patient Program and the Teachback method, as well as several others.
"The implementation of these two parallel initiatives has brought much success, and the most exciting part is that it has been employee driven," shares David Hartberg, CEO Gundersen Boscobel. "I am very proud of the entire staff for how seriously they have taken their opportunities to not only identify ways we could improve, but following through to make those ideas a reality."
Hospital foundation transformation. The Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics (BAHC) Foundation completed a strategic planning process in 2016 that has reinvigorated the plans for and purpose of the Foundation. "The strategic planning process has set the BAHC Foundation's sights on strategic impact opportunities and long-term goals," explains Foundation Director, Eric Swan. "In the next few years our goal is to build an endowment that will offer long-term stability and a consistent source of funding for local healthcare needs."
Providers. We are excited to announce that we will be adding nurse practitioner Ann Draymen, NP, very soon, as well as Colleen McCurry, MD, in Fall 2017. We also continue to work diligently toward additional recruitments who would benefit our organization and the community, and also to increasing local access to the wide array Gundersen specialists to optimize those available resources.
Optimistic outlook. In conclusion, we are proud of the year in the rearview mirror, but we are even more optimistic about our future in 2017 and beyond. Thank you for your continued support of the Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve our community, and to do so with more dedication and drive each year. Optimism truly abounds.
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