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Lehigh Valley Hospital: Engaging Patients and Families

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Background: Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH), a 623-bed tertiary care referral center, is one of two hospitals of the Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network.

Patient and Family Involvement: Improving patient safety requires active engagement. Many units have collaborative rounds, which family members may join. Family meetings often include multimedia sources to review patient conditions, results, and plans of care. LVH's advanced intensive care unit program allows virtual meetings with an off-site intensivist.

Use of Information to Set and Evaluate Quality Goals and Prioritize Initiatives: The Institute of Medicine (IOM) aims of care are addressed in terms of Donabedian's clinical outcomes (safety, effectiveness, and timeliness), financial outcomes (efficiency), and service outcomes (patient-centeredness and equity).

Approach to Addressing the Six IOM Aims: Two strategies to address the IOM's six aims have been employed—patient engagement and an emphasis on technology. More than $30 million has been invested, thereby creating a digital hospital, which, in combination with evidence-based practice, uses advanced computerized and wireless systems to improve patient care and safety.

Challenges and Lessons Learned: New problems evident once process improvements are made are quickly addressed. Technology cannot fix bad processes; rather, process improvements should come first, with technology then added to enhance those improvements.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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