Health systems keep the focus on making patients' lives easier 

Aug 28

Courtesy of the NWI Times

During one workday, Julie Prieboy and her colleagues were discussing how beneficial it would be for everyone who had a loved one in a hospital to have a nurse in their family to watch out for that patient.

Prieboy, cancer program coordinator at Methodist Hospitals, Kathy Plesac, a nurse at Methodist who specializes in infection control, and Jodi Boling, a former Methodist employee who now teaches at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, decided to write a guide for patients and their loved ones of tips and tricks nurses use to keep patients safe.

The women, authors of "Hospital Safety: Insider Tips," are part of an aspect of health care in Northwest Indiana that is now the norm. In some cases, such as in the mission statement of Porter Health System, it's right there in black and white, a "(dedication) to medical excellence and patient-centered care."

Health care facilities don't want to focus only on illness, but also on patients and making their experiences easy and stress-free.

"We want to be in the 90th percentile in everything we do. All decisions have the patients at the center of it," said Dave Hyatt, vice president of strategy and ambulatory services for IU Health LaPorte Hospital.

At the Franciscan Alliance, Joe Dejanovic, regional vice president for marketing and communications, said the health system recognized most people were going online and using multiple platforms to learn about their health and health care. So he and Jim Senese, Franciscan Alliance regional Web lead/marketing and communications, developed, and to interact with patients.

"We want individuals to use these tools ... to become more informed, more empowered to make better health care decisions for themselves and their loved ones. By connecting with us 'socially,' a user can find out about what's happening regionally within Franciscan Alliance as well as keep tabs on what is trending nationally," Dejanovic said.

He said each of the four region hospitals within the Franciscan Alliance have blogs to keep patients informed, but patients also use social media. For example, the health system is creating a video library on its YouTube channel that shows hospital staff and physicians discussing health topics.

"The audience mix is wide-ranging, including patients, local businesses, fellow health colleagues from our local communities as well as nationally. This has opened the door to sharing quality health information, breaking health news ... important information families may find helpful in managing their health," Dejanovic said.

Prieboy's book also attempts to reach out to patients to keep them better informed and educated. For example, it discusses how medicine should be distributed by the nurse when he or she comes into a room. The book says medicine should be in its individual packets and nurses should verify a patient's name and birth date to make sure it is the right medication. Prieboy said any nurse or physician who comes into a room should use the hand sanitizer outside the room first.

"The intent is not to disparage hospitals ... problems can occur," Prieboy said. "Here's how you can make them safer and become part of the team."

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