• Inspired by the Patient or Caregiver Experience

    May 15, 2014

    Leaders share how their experiences as patients and caregivers to loved ones are driving their professional passions. 


    Advancing Patient Safety

    When my father was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, I helped my elderly mother care for him. I was struck by the multitude of small mistakes that were made by otherwise caring and well-meaning providers. Medication interactions, overmedication, incorrect or insufficient care instructions, and a lack of test result notifications were just a few of the problems I observed. Fortunately, none of them resulted in significant harm. However, those many small failings renewed my sense of urgency to address systems and process issues that support patient safety and quality of care.

    M. Sean Rogers, MD, is medical director and compliance officer, Bend Memorial Clinic, Bend, Ore.


    Valuing Care Coordination

    During my mother’s illness and the last months of her life, I tried to connect the dots between providers and services for my mother and failed miserably. I spent more time working the system—and being frustrated and upset—than being with my mother. We did not have the experience I wanted for her or for me. Those events inspired me to redouble my efforts to measure and deliver coordinated care. For example, I serve as co-chair of the National Quality Forum’s Care Coordination Measures Committee and assist health systems in designing new care coordination programs.

    Gerri Lamb, PhD, RN, FAAN, is associate professor, ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Phoenix.  


    Supporting Delivery Systems

    Serving as the power of attorney for my 83-year-old uncle provides a whole new perspective on health care—both the good and the bad. I’m most optimistic about the ability of integrated delivery systems to transform care for patients and families. For example, being able to see my uncle’s test results and communicate with doctors and nurses 24/7 via email is helpful and relieves a lot of stress. As a caregiver, I am reminded that many positive changes are on the horizon, and it energizes me to work with our provider partners to speed the transition to a more user-friendly healthcare system.

    John Foley is vice president provider engagement and contracting, Anthem BCBS, Milwaukee, Wis.


    Caring for Mind, Body, and Spirit

    When my mother was hospitalized after breaking a hip, she was concerned that she would not be able to live alone, walk without pain, or drive after her recovery. I realized that healthcare leaders’ responsibilities extend far beyond clinical care to improving patient communication, education, and emotional support. Likewise, when I was diagnosed with a 99 percent occlusion in a coronary artery at age 43, I wondered, “Will I see my daughter graduate from high school?” As I’ve contemplated my experiences, I am encouraging our entire organization to discover new ways to care for patients’ minds, bodies, and spirits.

    Keith Granger is president and CEO, Trinity Medical Center, Birmingham, Ala.