Unity of purpose: harnessing the elements that lead to better patient care
As national leaders in medicine, our mission compels us to strive for and achieve continuous improvement in the care we deliver to every patient. Each year we set ambitious targets to improve within various areas of operations, such as safety and quality, people, service, innovation and finance.
In 2014, our team performed very well within each of these areas, and it didn’t go unnoticed. Our efforts around safety and quality were recognized by a prestigious award-The Rising Star Award. This award is given annually to the academic medical center that achieves the strongest improvement in a series of quality metrics measured and reported by University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC).
We were recognized after we improved our rank to No. 17 in the country for patient safety and quality out of 117 academic medical centers. We’re proud of the team effort it took to achieve this status within UHC.
We achieved this distinction in a relatively short amount of time. How? It starts with setting a goal: to be the safest hospital and provide the best care. We see our achievement as recognition for years of intense focus on making gradual improvements in safety and quality. Over the years, our teams worked hard on several areas like making surgical procedures even safer, reducing the rate of hospital-acquired infections and enhancing our patients’ ability to follow through with their care after discharge.
The credit for these improvements goes to our entire team—our physician partners, our nurses and other caregivers, as well as all support staff and managers. These team members created new ways to solve ongoing challenges and achieved better consistency by following well-defined procedures. You’ll find more details on these improvements in the Safety and Quality section of this report.
At the same time, we continue as national leaders in providing innovative treatments. In this report, you’ll learn how we’re developing new ways to visualize cancer, to treat some cancers with the latest form of proton therapy, and to make the correct diagnosis where others have failed.
Funding these types of improvements has been a challenge at a time when government-funded and other health plans are reducing their reimbursement for our services. But, we’ve succeeded under these changes, perhaps because the objectives of the Affordable Care Act—encouraging hospitals to operate more efficiently while improving quality—dovetail so well with the objectives of Barnes-Jewish Hospital and our health system, BJC HealthCare.
We’ve worked with BJC to find ways to reduce operating costs, such as lowering the prices we pay for our supplies and purchased services, but only in ways where we can maintain or improve the quality of the care we provide. Just last year, we identified $20 million in savings by negotiating new purchase agreements for supplies and by eliminating waste.
We are dedicated to continue our focus on containing unnecessary costs. Our success in that area will enable us to continue funding innovative treatments, provide better quality and fund programs that benefit our community.
While we focus on the initiatives above, we haven’t lost sight of our goal to ensure your experience with us is consistently excellent. By listening to your feedback, we’ve been able to focus on specific areas that have improved the patient experience. As a result, our scores on nationally benchmarked patient experience categories are continually improving. It is an honor to say several of our care divisions now rank among the best in the nation for delivering an excellent patient experience.
Another important way we continue to improve the care we provide is through donor support. Gifts to The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital make possible vital research that leads to better treatments and prevention. Gifts also support essential patient care services and assistance, including home health visits, medical equipment and medications.
Because of donor generosity, Barnes-Jewish is able to provide many programs outside our hospital walls to improve our community’s health. For example, in 2014, we provided 23,000 flu shots to the community with support from gifts to the hospital’s foundation. We’re extremely grateful to our donors—they are true champions of Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
Thank you for taking the time to view our Report to the Community. All of the innovations in our report are only possible through the dedication of our Barnes-Jewish team members, our Washington University physician partners and our generous donors.
Robert W. Cannon
Board of Directors Chair
Kenneth H. Suelthaus
Board of Directors Chair
The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital