Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Magic Monday

I am posting this for Maxine Power PhD, Director of Quality Improvement, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust (a hospital in the UK), Salford, England.

It is a heartfelt note to you all and coming from such an esteemed improver, quite humbling to read.

Maxine's comments are as follows:

On Monday 23rd February 2009 I had the pleasure of spending a day with the staff of Contra Costa. This experience was truly transformational and I wanted to take the opportunity to ‘blog’ to describe why that is the case. First, I must confess – I am a blog novice – never done it before so please excuse my stilted efforts…….

Here’s how the day went, I arrived at 8.00am walked straight in to an extremely warm reception in the CEO’s office. I had met Jeff a couple of times at conference events but actually felt as though I had been part of the organisation for years. Next I went to a scheduled clinical meeting, a meeting of the peri-operative committee and walked the floors with Anna Roth. In the afternoon I attended senior management meetings with Anna before returning to the hospital to take a second walk of the floors where I had the opportunity to take some photos to share with my team back at the hospital I work in.

The sense of openness and warmth I had felt in Jeff’s office followed me the whole day. In fact, if anything it intensified the closer I got to the patients and the teams delivering the care. Everywhere I looked there were examples of dedication and excellence. I was blown away by how much improvement work was embedded into daily work and how eloquently teams described making changes based on data and testing. It was evident everywhere, almost like it sat within the DNA of the organisation. I took photos, but even then didn’t capture the depth and breadth of the improvement work.

I had the opportunity to talk in detail to only a small number of staff – I wish I could have stayed longer and talked more. The overwhelming sense I got at Contra Costa was of a group of staff who were working with a shared mission and vision. Despite having seen exemplary outcomes already, they had not slowed or faltered in their improvement efforts. There was a constancy of purpose around never stopping with improvements in care.

I am responding to Anna’s blog today because I shared your story with my team back at my hospital in England today. I wanted you to know how I described Contra Costa Regional Medical Centre – your place, your creation. Here’s what I said……

‘ I have never been anywhere like this hospital, they serve the most needy population, the under and uninsured with a fraction of the regional healthcare spend they deliver more patient episodes than their neighbors combined. In any other system the sheer volume of patients being treated would strain the system to create intolerant and angry staff. I saw staff under pressure but they were caring, warm and excellent. Never once did they waiver from their values and mission. They were proud of the service they deliver and dedicated to providing excellent care to their patients. I have never seen so much come from so little………….. Make no doubt this is a system with considerable challenge, but what I observed was leadership who, despite having to make heartbreaking and impossible decisions, were transparent and unwavering in their desires to stay on mission, unify and bring forward workable solutions to challenging issues’

I sat on the plane on my way home to England reading ‘Chasing the Rabbit’ by Stephen Spear and realized – I just visited a rabbit……………….Contra Costa, stay firm, stay together and trust in yourselves and your mission. You are an inspiration.

Maxine Power

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