In 2016, the leadership team at Tennova Cleveland in Cleveland, Tennessee met with TeamHealth’s new facility medical director (FMD) to discuss top priorities for the hospital medicine program’s performance enhancement, including improving relationships with community-based physicians, streamlining patient throughput and raising HCAHPS scores.
The FMD devised plans to tackle all three issues, starting with a new process for allowing direct admissions from community physicians. Previously, community physicians would spend as much as 45 minutes on the phone, making multiple calls, before an admission could be arranged. Now, a dedicated phone line—which the FMD often answers herself—allows community physicians to make a five-minute call, and TeamHealth handles the rest. Physicians rave about the simple, efficient process to hospital administrators, and direct admissions have increased from about six per month to well over 30 per month.
Both the direct admission and discharge initiatives contributed to the hospital’s improvement in patient satisfaction scores, as patients appreciate bypassing the emergency department for admission and leaving the hospital as soon as possible. Additionally, the FMD began tracking individual physician HCAHPS scores, sharing them with each physician and providing one-on-one coaching when necessary to help improve performance.
In fact, by working together with hospital leadership, TeamHealth’s FMD helped achieve dramatic improvements in all three areas identified by hospital administration. Community physicians enjoy a strong relationship with the hospital, enjoy utilizing the new direct admissions process and know they can call the FMD directly with any questions or concerns.
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