Finding the 'KGH Way' in Utah

News / General / Patient & family Centred Care
By Matthew Manor

World-renowned quality improvement strategists impressed by KGH

When Kingston General Hospital CEO Leslee Thompson and Medicine Program Operational Director Richard Jewitt participated in a course at Intermountain Medical Center in Utah recently, they didn't anticipate that KGH's strides in patient-centred care would garner so much interest.

After all, they went to learn the 'Intermountain Way' - the Salt Lake City health-care organization's renowned approach to leadership and change. KGH's goal? To channel Intermountain's successes toward our patient-centred aim of Outstanding care, always.

"It's important to see what other organizations are doing so we can keep up with best practice," says Thompson. But as Thompson and Jewitt quickly discovered, Intermountain's strategists were just as keen to learn about KGH and its pioneering approach to patient-centred care. "They were surprised at how deeply entrenched our patient experience advisors are at KGH and how they're embedded into our processes and planning," says Thompson. Intermountain was so impressed that KGH has been asked to speak about our Patient and Family Advisory Council in the future. "That shows us that we have a lot of great ingredients in place at KGH," she says. Jewitt was pleasantly surprised to find that KGH's strategy is on par with Intermountain's. "Their vision is almost exactly the same as ours. That's exciting because we've just started our multi-year journey of process excellence and many of their principles, such as continuous improvement learning, are already part of our strategy. We are on the right track," he says. While Thompson and Jewitt were buoyed by the positive interest in KGH, they know that keeping their sights set on growth and improvement is key. "Each and every person at Intermountain has a belief that they impact patient care. I think our clinical staff know that, but we want all of our staff to believe and know that," says Jewitt. Thompson agrees that for KGH to truly be effective, everyone needs to get behind a common vision. "Intermountain has created a language around commitment to quality that's hard-wired into the operation. That language brings teams together so staff learn that their contribution makes a difference. We need to think about that at KGH," she says. What's next? Both Thompson and Jewitt, whose course attendance was funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, will share their knowledge within KGH as well as at a provincial level. Thompson says that relaying her experiences will be a proud moment. "The 'KGH Way' is starting to take shape and people are taking notice. That's a real tribute to our people."