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Member Spotlight - December 2010
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DECEMBER 2010 MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

SHEILA A. BRUNE, RN, MS, CPHQ
Director of Service Excellence
CGH Medical Center 
Sterling, Illinois

 

 



WHAT ARE YOUR KEY RESPONSIBILITIES?

I came to CGH Medical Center nine months ago. My primary function is to focus on the patient experience and the patient’s perception of care. To do this, I not only lead patient-centered care initiatives and do tons of coaching, but also work with all of our employees to design programs and initiatives that meet the needs of today’s healthcare consumer. At this stage of our customer service evolution, we are focusing primarily on education, communication and an increased level of accountability.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT ACCOMPLISHMENT IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

As we all know, building relationships and trust is at the heart of service excellence coordination, and when you are a new face in the organization, establishing credibility can be difficult. Employees want to know that a new initiative is not just the "flavor of the month.” This is understandable, but nothing can be accomplished without the buy-in of staff.

In the brief time I have been with CGH Medical Center, we have made great strides by creating a sense of urgency and trust…an urgency to implement the programs that focus on the patient experience and the trust that these programs will work. We can already see an increase in our satisfaction scores, which is a good indicator of the level of commitment of the employees. Our organization has very dedicated professionals who are constantly striving to improve clinical care and the patient experience. Providing structure, organization, and the enthusiasm for change; I am a cheerleader for their efforts.

In addition, I came to this position with a proven customer service program - the Living History Program© - that I created about 10 years ago. Through this program, we have started to write and use patient life stories in the care we provide every day. Not only have employees been openly supportive and excited about the program, but they have also embraced the opportunity to improve connectivity with patients and families. We use volunteer staff to interview the patients for their life story and have delighted our customers with a surprising gift in their own story. The program has been well received, and I look forward to growing it over time.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU ARE CURRENTLY FACING?

We all face many great challenges right now. The face of our customer is changing as baby boomers age and our caregivers get younger. And certainly, hospitals are preparing for "Pay for Performance” and increased transparency. Our service excellence challenges lie in creating a culture of consistency, or "always.” We must execute our customer service initiatives flawlessly and with great attention to detail. This will require a deeper sense of commitment from our employees, and a desire to give their best every day, to every patient—ALWAYS. It is imperative that we constantly move forward, be innovative and be creative as our customers look for that "WOW” experience instead of mediocre moments.

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS OF THE FUTURE IN ADDRESSING PATIENT EXPERIENCE?

"Pay for Performance” has the attention of everyone. We know that we must deliver the best possible care with the least amount of variability. I have seen a lot of changes in my 40 years in healthcare and that will never end…This industry is not static and never will be. Therefore, every initiative must be well planned, cost effective and patient-centered. Telemedicine, hospitalists, centers of excellence are just the beginning. The future belongs to those who can see the opportunities and make them a reality.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN WHEN NOT FOCUSING ON THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE?

My family enjoys the water: boating and swimming. I am learning the game of golf (but am still horrible). I love to read and play cards with friends, and I just enjoy being alive and meeting new people every day. I belong to Kiwanis and Beta Sigma Phi, serve on the Board of Directors for the Red Cross, and try to stay active in my church and community.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE BERYL INSTITUTE?

The Beryl Institute is a wonderful forum for the exchange of ideas on the subject of service excellence and the patient experience. Working for a non-profit organization, I am always looking for affordable ways to get information and connect with others doing similar work. The Beryl Institute is the perfect place to accomplish both of these goals. In addition, I love the work of Wendy Leebov, who highly recommended the Institute. After learning more from her, I was sold!

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