Friday, January 6, 2012

Making Downers Grove Internist a Great Environment

In 2012 we will be focused on Improving Downers Grove Internist to create a better experience for patients and staff. We are in a very challenging time in health care where we are all being asked to do more and more and it is often difficult to find balance. If we improve communication and collaboration it will benefit quality, safety and the satisfaction of both patients and all of us.
We are introducing regular morning huddles to start the day off on a positive note. We will also be focusing on the patient flow as we start our day. Your commitment to the success of these new processes is critical. Thank you for making a difference for our patients. BL

Sunday, December 20, 2009

New Year's Committment


  • At our last meeting we are launching our values commitment to be posted and circulated after the holidays. Thank You Kim and Kathy W.
  • Pink Yarn should be in every work area so if things get tense grab and share a piece with your colleagues to remind us all to honor each other and our patients. Thanks Claudette and Kathy D.
  • Recognition will be encouraged in the New Year. Sondra has volunteered to champion a recognition board. Please send your stories of caring and quality to her. Thanks Sondra.
  • Each employee should write a paragraph about themselves and email to Dan.

    Notes from meeting on December 2, 2009
    Attendees: Dr. Loeb, Dr. Martin, Dr. Vetrone, Dan, Mary, Kim, Kathy D., Kathy W., Claudette, Dee, Maria, Sondra, Amber. Absent: Michelle and Lauren

We reviewed the process of rounding: Claudette has been doing a great job of keeping patients informed and offering coffee or water and a time estimate of when the doctor will be in. Great idea to let them know when to change so they are not waiting in a cold gown too long.

We fixed the charge card machine

We reviewed frustration: pink yarn is in departments to be handed to anyone we feel needs reminding to move the discussion to the break room.

We reviewed urgent messages and sick messages: A list of pertinent questions will be near the front desk (and in the lab?) to make sure everything appropriate is asked. Also, for prescriptions, please ask if 30/90 day quantity and note the town and street of pharmacy if possible with the number.

We reviewed our values statement (Pledge). A poster with the statement, photos and signatures of employees will be posted in the waiting room by January 1.

We discussed a new form for error messages presented by Kim. Forms will be used beginning next week. When an error is noticed, the form should be filled out and sent to the department where the error occurred. Forms will then be sent on to Dan after corrections are made. Anything Dan decides the rest of the office can learn from will be circulated for signatures so mistakes do not continue in the future.

Cancellations should be noted as to the reason and sent to the doctor for review. Please also be a little more descriptive when scheduling patients rather than just typing “sick”, add a couple of words of what kind of sickness patient is being seen for in the schedule.

A new recognition board will be constructed in the waiting room to recognize those who go above and beyond or who have done something worthy of acknowledgement. Anyone who notices a “blue ribbon” employee should type up a short paragraph of description of the deed, which will be forwarded to Dan to be placed on an index card with a photo of the person. This card will be displayed on the recognition board for a period of time (a week, a month?).

Each employee is to type a short paragraph/biography of themselves about their achievements and background as pertinent to their job here at DGI. These should be completed and e-mailed to Dan and Dr. Loeb within a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Patients don't always hear what we say but respond more to our attitude, body language and tone of voice. Without eye contact they will feel we are not listening. If our voice sounds aggravated or rushed they feel we don't care or we are angry about having to attend to their needs. A calm and sensitive tone will have the opposite effect. Even our posture sends a message. Standing means we are in a hurry. Folded arms make us appear impatient and closed to communication. If we sit with our arms open we will be viewed as connected and having more time.

In addition to posture and tone, key words can communicate caring, compassion and concern. Here are some key phrases and words:

"For your safety I am checking your full name and birthday twice."
"To keep you fully informed we will call you as soon as your results are back."
"To be thorough the doctor has ordered further tests."
"To protect your privacy we will not release any information without your permission."
" Because we care about keeping you healthy, the doctor wants to see you in a month"
"For your comfort we put these heaters in the exam room"

Remember how powerful our words, attitudes and action are. They have a great ability to influence the outcome of our patients' care. We can do so much to help the healing process. BBL

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Recently Maria shared a great idea with me. She observed in some offices the medical assistant comes out into the waiting room and greets the patient while escorting them in. This shows a welcoming acknowledgement for the patient and is a perfect example of A- acknowledgement.
Thanks Maria

This should be followed by I - introducing yourself by name and role. "Nice to see you today Mrs. Jones, I am the medical assistant Maria." If the patient knows you by name, you can skip the introduction. If you are not sure, you can say "I think we have met before I'm Maria the medical assistant." Next use the key words "For your safety, can you repeat your full name and birthday?" ..........."What are you allergic to?".........."Do you smoke?" ....
Imagine how welcomed, safe and well cared for the patients will feel......
A - Acknowledge
I - Introduce
D - Duration
E - Explanation
T - Thank you

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coming Together With Vision and Values

On August 14th we had a brainstorming session during which we reviewed what we found out from the group when we asked what was going well, what systems need improvement, do you have the tools to do your job and who would you like to recognize.

We did fix a few things and have several more projects in the fire.

We chose two areas to work on that needed systemic improvement.

1) Searching for strategies to keep our frustrations from being expressed in front of patients.
2) Review, refine and hardwire the method to handle urgent messages.

We also expressed the vision that :Downers Grove Internists is the Place of Choice for Patients to Get Care and for Employees to Work.

Next steps:
1) Tabulate the groups top values that they feel should be front and center in are behavioral standard.
2) Sondra to list what type of messages there are and begin to catagorize them.
3) Ask the group to talk about what can be done to promote professionalism that will lead to fulfilling the plan behaviors in front of patients.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Recognizing Claudette - by Dr.Vetrone

Claudette deserves employee of the week or something. Last night at 9:00 I called her because my Quest ID and password were no longer valid due to lack of use. I had told a patient we would get her results by the next day and I hadn't seen them yet. The patient and her husband were very worried and so was I, but by the time I got to it, it was late and everyone had gone home. Claudette walked me through it over the phone, but she was used to printing it and I was using my computer. I knew there must be a way to view it without printing it, but we couldn't figure it out over the phone. After I hung up I figured it out, but before I knew it, Claudette showed up at the office (now it is around 9:30). I had told her a hundred times she didn't have to come and it could wait until morning. Besides, I knew that if I messed with it long enough I would figure it out.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Respect- Critical to great work and a great place to work

Respect:Quote Dr. Martin at of Downers Grove Internists

For patients – Patients should not be thought of as adversaries. They come to the doctor sick and/or in need of help. There is always a “backstory” to why they behave badly. Our job is to help see them through their problem, if possible. Sometimes we can’t, and have to part ways. But we should always remain calm, try our best, and avoid taking their behavior personally.

For our coworkers- We must recognize that each “department” is essential, and that breakdown in any area prevents the office from running smoothly. Sometimes expressing our frustration with others’ work actually makes it harder for work to get done. We should not think of or treat each other as adversaries, but as coworkers whose cooperation we need to enlist. Everyone works better if he or she feels respected. We also need to respect the responsibilities of our jobs, and recognize that each of us has duties we’d prefer not to do (but must do nonetheless). Doctors must observe the same (if not better) standards of behavior, work ethic, and treatment of patients & staff that we expect from others.