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President, Via Christi Health Jeff Korsmo: Via Christi strives to provide the best, safest patient care

  • Published Saturday, March 1, 2014, at 10:41 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, March 2, 2014, at 8:01 a.m.

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Our number one goal throughout Via Christi is to improve the quality and safety of the care we provide to our patients and senior village residents.

As part of our mission as a Catholic health care organization, Via Christi is focused on helping to improve the health of the populations we serve in Kansas, including the poor and vulnerable. We are partnering with GraceMed and the YMCA, for example, to create new medical services for the underserved in south Wichita.

In addition, we are working with physicians and other organizations throughout Wichita and Kansas to create new programs focused on wellness and preventive medical services to help keep people healthy and at home, and reduce the cost of health care for individuals, employers and government.

Over the past year, we have invested in new medical treatments and technologies to bring services to Wichita that previously were only available in Denver, Kansas City and other larger cities.

Via Christi opened a leading-edge hybrid operating room in 2013 and, in partnership with physicians throughout our community, expanded the advanced heart care services offered in Wichita, providing new, life-saving treatments for cardiac disease.

We are investing $75 million in a computerized electronic health record system to help improve patient care by connecting all of our hospitals and outpatient clinics – and giving patients access to their medical records on our website.

By early summer, our doctors and nurses in Wichita will have instant computer access to our patients’ complete medical histories, including past treatments a patient has received and what medications they are taking. If a patient has to go to an emergency room, for example, the patient’s primary care physician will be able to review the ER treatment and laboratory results during a follow-up visit.

This will enable us to provide better-coordinated care and improve patient outcomes while reducing unnecessary diagnostic tests and errors that can result during hand-offs between health care providers.

The new system will empower our patients to help manage their own care by providing online access to their medical records and allowing them to securely email their doctors through a new patient portal on our website, www.viachristi.org. By registering to use the new myViaChristi web portal, our patients will be able to review their laboratory test results, use secure email to communicate with their Via Christi Clinic physicians, and request prescription refills and appointments.

We are taking a disciplined, rigorous approach to improving patient safety. We have expanded our Center for Clinical Excellence with the safety expertise of industrial engineers and quality improvement “black belts” from the Kansas aviation industry. We have trained more than 200 clinical and administrative leaders in the principles of high-reliability science and quality improvement. We have formed eight Performance Improvement Teams to help us improve care for people suffering from pneumonia and heart attacks, and to reduce hospital-acquired infections and preventable readmissions to our hospitals.

Since July, we have been holding safety huddles seven days a week – without fail. More than 40 clinicians and administrative leaders review and address safety issues identified during the past 24 hours, and plan for the next 24 hours.

These are just some of the steps we have taken over the past 16 months to improve the care we deliver to those we serve. We will continue this important work throughout 2014 and succeeding years until we achieve our Vision 2020 goal of transforming ourselves into one of the most highly reliable organizations in health care.

This work helps us continue to earn the great trust of our patients, senior village residents and their families who count on Via Christi to provide the highest quality and safest care. We will continue to grow through demonstrating to you that Via Christi is the best place to receive care.

Jeff Korsmo is President and CEO of Via Christi Health.

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