Health & Wellness

Saint Michael’s Medical Center Executives Making the Rounds

Eleonor Lezynski-Anderson, risk manager at Saint Michael's, trains hospital CFO Marcello Guarneri on Orchid, an app that allows non-clinical staff to ask patients questions about their stay.

As the chief financial officer of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark, Marcello Guarneri is used to spending time behind a desk, pouring over balance sheets and financial statements and meeting with colleagues.

But at least three times a week, he is required to leave the comfort zone of the hospital’s c-suite and visit with patients staying in the hospital.

The effort is aimed at getting non-clinical hospital leadership onto patient floors so they can assess all parts of a patient’s hospital stay, including their medical care, how well their pain is managed, and their satisfaction with nutrition and food services, environment, housekeeping and facilities. Effective rounding helps manage patient expectations, promote quality care, and recognize exceptional caregivers.

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“I really enjoy talking to the patients and learning about their stay,” Guarneri said. “Rounding gives me a completely different perspective on my job and how I can contribute toward meeting the needs of our patients.”

All top executives who would not otherwise have a reason to visit patients, are now “rounding” much the way doctors and other clinical staff have done for years.

“Too often, executives and managers become isolated in their own silos,” said CEO Robert Iannaccone, who has already put in numerous hours talking with patients. “The insight you gain talking to patients while they are still in the hospital is invaluable. Too often, this kind of information never makes it to the executive suite. This helps us remember why we work here in the first place – to serve our patients.”

Leadership rounding is a fundamental practice at all hospitals owned by Prime Healthcare, which purchased Saint Michael’s out of bankruptcy in May 2016.

Before making the rounds, executives download an app on their phone known as Orchid, which allows access to all patients staying in the hospital. The app was originally developed for nurses, but has been retooled for managers to ask non-nursing questions or gather feedback on topics such as hospital food, cleanliness and quietness.

“Positive comments from patients that recognize team members for outstanding service are forwarded to managers in real-time,” said Alex Hejnosz, co-founder of CipherHealth, which developed Orchid. “This feedback increases staff morale and encourages staff to continue to use best practices.”

Patient satisfaction has become an increasingly important metric in the healthcare industry and is used by rating agencies such as the Leapfrog Group, which issues grades to hospitals twice a year.

Prime Healthcare has made patient satisfaction a priority throughout its system of more than four dozen hospitals across the nation, including Saint Mary’s Hospital in Passaic and Saint Clare’s Health in Denville and Dover.

"At Prime Healthcare, our goal is to create a culture of open and transparent communication that encourages our patients to provide honest feedback directly to our hospital leadership," said Stephen Meth, the chief experience officer at Prime Healthcare.

"Engaging our leadership in rounding helps us improve our understanding of evolving expectations of those that we serve so that we can strengthen the support structure around our frontline colleagues to make consistently exceeding these expectations the new norm,” Meth said.

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