In today's dynamic health care landscape, effective communication is pivotal to ensuring patient satisfaction and fostering positive care outcomes. From my perspective and experience leading an accreditation organization with programs for a wide range of health care settings, I see firsthand the impact of successful communication within and across care teams and between providers and patients. Proactive recognition and prioritization of good communication skills improve patient satisfaction in tandem with more consistent achievement of desired health outcomes.
Hospitals and medical facilities place a strong emphasis on not just medical care, but the whole patient experience around it — including before, during and after a hospital stay — and always look for innovative ways to improve it. This is especially so after the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to high patient dissatisfaction due to staffing shortages, cutbacks and other circumstances.
DEBRA KELSEY-DAVIS, RN, MHSA
"I'm doing the best I can," has become the exhausted refrain of health care workers who find themselves pulling "double-duty," caring for patients at work and then rushing home to care for a loved one. The stress and toll on their physical and mental health is staggering. But it does not stop there. As you might imagine, struggling to juggle work-life caregiving directly impacts virtually every aspect of their lives — the people they care for, their jobs, their peers and the many relationships they value. This growing number of people caregiving around the clock presents unique challenges to health systems and new opportunities to innovate.
FR. CHARLES E. BOUCHARD, OP, STD, and JAMEZ TERRY, MDiv, BCC
Gender has received a great deal of attention in the past 10 years. Hardly a day goes by that there is not a media report on the clinical, legal and ethical aspects of the transgender experience. All of these come together — or not — in the political blender where, on one hand, trans people are used as an icon of individual civil rights, or, on the other hand, as an example of moral and spiritual decline.
MOHAMAD FAKIH, MD, MPH, and RICHARD FOGEL, MD, FACC, FHRS
When people first arrive at one of our hospitals, many may be experiencing some of the worst, most vulnerable times of their lives — or the life of a loved one. They may feel anxious and afraid of what might happen next. They put their lives in our hands, trusting in the safe, quality care they will receive. They also often come with a set of unspoken expectations: please keep me safe; help me navigate my care; provide me with the right care; give me tools to help me stay well; and treat me with respect. For years, the "safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable and patient-centered" (STEEEP) model, developed by the Institute of Medicine,1 has provided a clear and actionable framework to help Ascension manage overall quality and safety initiatives. Each element of the STEEEP framework has multiple metrics that we report and track over time.
JEREMY CHAPMAN, MD, and MEG PUDDY, MA, BCBA
Each day, as we walk into work at SSM Health Treffert Studios in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, we can almost reach out and grab the energy in the room. Treffert Studios was designed with a mission to help neurodivergent individuals find their passion and express their talents, giving them a voice and tools to share their strengths with the world.
SR. ROSEMARY DONLEY, SC, PhD, APRN, FAAN
Why is the American health care system so difficult to navigate? People identify difficulties in access, cost and quality as the main issues they encounter when seeking medical assessment and treatment. Access refers to the person being examined by the right provider, and in the right setting, for their presenting symptoms and given the correct diagnosis, tests and treatment. Cost means that the appropriate treatment and care is paid for by the patient, insurance companies and/or the government. Quality is outcome-oriented and includes more than satisfaction with the provider, setting and treatment. Today, quality of care means that the treatment produces a good or improved outcome, ideally better health.
JOHNNY COX, PhD, BSN
Three generations of ministry leaders have been engaged in a struggle to retain the soul of Catholic health care, and the intensity is greater now than ever. They have endured this struggle since the rise of the for-profit health care services sector in the early 1980s, when then-Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine Dr. Arnold S. Relman named and proclaimed the new medical-industrial complex as the most important health care development of the time. He described it as "a large and growing network of private corporations engaged in the business of supplying health-care services to patients for a profit — services heretofore provided by nonprofit institutions or individual practitioners."
When treating older adults in the U.S., especially those nearing end-of-life, palliative and hospice care are some of the best options available — yet they remain underused.
The creators of Radiance, a virtual reality program, initially designed it as a mixed media art piece and displayed it in a Savannah, Georgia, museum.
I went in for a routine screening as a patient years ago, having just written for CHA about the latest electronic medical record advances, to have a care provider write some of my details on a sticky note and slip it in her pocket to add to my files later.
This past summer, CHA's Board of Trustees adopted a new vision statement: We Will Empower Bold Change to Elevate Human Flourishing. The vision statement will guide the development of CHA's new Fiscal Year 2024-26 strategic plan.
CLAY O'DELL, PhD
Improving the availability and quality of mental and behavioral health services remains one of the most challenging aspects of health policy and advocacy in the United States.
ALICE BONNER, PhD, RN, and SUMIRE MAKI
"Quality of life? To have a newspaper and a cup of hot coffee in the morning — decent coffee. But I'm just not able to get it." —Nursing home resident
JILL FISK, MATM
In Catholic health care, the integration of mission, vision and values across the continuum of care is our distinction. It is what creates our culture and sets us apart for both our staff and patients.
AMIE COCKRELL, RN, MBA-HCM, CPHQ
A groundbreaking community-based initiative in Longview, Texas, is gaining local, state and national recognition in its mission to reduce the need for use of emergency acute care services by high-risk community members.
NATHANIEL BLANTON HIBNER, PhD
Have you ever experienced a moment when firmly held beliefs were challenged, and you saw the world through a different lens? In theology, this transformation is known as a "hermeneutic of experience."
REV. DAVID J. EBACHER, MA, BCC and KARLA KEPPEL, MA