Beginning this month, Progress Notes will take a closer look at the ongoing work of individual Departments and Divisions within Lancaster General Hospital. Chair Christopher T. Addis, M.D., kicks off our new monthly feature by sharing the Department of Medicine’s new mission statement, recent successes and more.

Christopher Addis
Christopher T. Addis, M.D.

The big news: The Department of Medicine now has a mission statement: “Build capabilities for high value based health care delivery across the Penn Medicine continuum.” Or to keep it simple enough to put on a bumper sticker: “Cross Pollination.”

We are a big institution. Between departments and divisions, service lines, medical practices and administration, there are a lot overlapping areas, and providers understandably can get a little overwhelmed and confused. All of the Divisions within our Department are working hard on cross pollination. With any effort to improve health care, we keep in mind our partners across divisions, departments and service lines. We want to make sure we are working well systemically rather than a Department of Medicine island in the ocean of health care.

Some great examples of our multidisciplinary work include the fragility fracture program, where Rheumatology is working very closely with Orthopedics, along with Geriatrics and our primary-care colleagues, to improve care for hip fracture patients. Neurology is also working collaboratively with Emergency Medicine, Radiology and Pharmacy to expedite stroke care. This is an exciting time for our Department. We are already seeing that this idea of cross pollination is contagious, which is awesome. Imagine if everyone took the same approach.

Changing our thinking: Because of our training, providers think our duty is to the patient in front of us. While this is certainly true, we are increasingly looking beyond immediate patient care to the community we serve. We want to think about how we can work together to deliver high-quality health care and improve the health of our community. That’s why we are all here. This is a paradigm shift for many providers.

Reaching our goals: Our Department goals are connected to the health system goals. In Quality & Safety, we are working to reduce the 30-day readmission rate and expand our Diabetes Prevention Program pilot. In Experience, our focus is on enhancing provider communication. And in Finance, we want to improve compliance with sepsis core measures.

Fighting burnout: We know that job satisfaction is based on three elements: feeling valuable, influential and competent. We are all busy, so we want to be sure that whatever we ask of our colleagues will be “high value.” When our goal is to educate and help each other, and we utilize consulting and other resources intelligently, it helps to make our work much more satisfying and reduces professional burnout. It also builds relationships and breeds better communication and cooperation between colleagues. People who work hard and are satisfied in their work are willing to go the extra mile for their patients, which leads to better health for the community.

Some of our achievements: Our mechanical thrombectomy program has been a great success in treating stroke patients. We also are working to become a stroke Center of Excellence. We are making great strides in treatment of sepsis, as well as establishing a clinical pathway for endocrine tumors. After a successful pilot, we are preparing to launch our Diabetes Prevention Program. Diabetes is such a common, resource-heavy chronic disease. Imagine if we could prevent it. That would be directly serving the community.

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