Michele Pilon: To Deliver the Best Care, It Takes a Village

By Michele Pilon
President/CNO, Transylvania Regional Hospital

What goes into one of the most important choices we make – the hospital we select when we need care, whether emergency or planned, the people we entrust to help us through minor ailments like coughs and broken bones, or more serious ones like diabetes or hip replacement surgery? Patients think about things similar to those that are measured by the technical term, quality of care metrics: patient safety, patient clinical outcomes, hospital efficiency, and patients’ assessments of their own care. We at Transylvania Regional Hospital are looking forward to National Hospital Week, May 6 to May 12, as a time when we celebrate our entire team and their many contributions to our care metrics and you!

There are numerous dashboards, or key performance indicator reports, that hospitals routinely refer to when examining their performance and success rates on a variety of quality measurements. For example, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) considers factors such as caregiver responsiveness and promptness, as well as mortality rates and readmission rates for the 30-day period following any patient’s discharge after events like heart failure and pneumonia. Their patient experience measure or “Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems” (HCAHPS) measures care quality by analyzing the care environment, the communication skills of clinicians, and patients’ own survey responses about their care. The National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators is another such tool, and it supports the role that nurses’ education, engagement with their hospitals, retention, and rate of burnout have on hospital quality improvement.

The care quality benchmarks that these and other regulatory entities design are simply the things that understandably attract patients to a hospital and that address questions and concerns that are frequently expressed by patients: What are my hospital’s readmission and mortality rates? What are their patient infection rates? How many nurses at my hospital are “working at the top of their license,” (that is, practicing to their full educational and experience level)? How might this affect the efficiency of the care I receive? When I leave the hospital, will I feel comfortable and competent to care for myself? Did hospital staff communicate well with me on important matters like the details of my medications’ possible side effects, and how and when to take them? Did they communicate effectively with each other? Was the environment centered on me and supportive of my healing? Did my hospital make an effort to get feedback from me about my care experience?

The great news is that at TRH, we at working hard every day – whether registration staff, food service team members, nurses, administrators, physical therapists, or physicians – to offer the best, most compassionate and safest care possible. Our constant focus on your comfort and care, our efficient use of our resources, and our culture of continuous improvement have earned us recognition repeatedly as a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital, a ranking that’s created annually by the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Policy Institute, iVantage Health Analytics, and the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Our Transitional Care Unit has also earned, for the fourth consecutive year, a 5-star rating – the best possible score – from Medicare.gov [1]’s Nursing Home Compare classification tool. TRH is also fully accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC). According to our patients’ responses to the HCAHPS Likely to Recommend indicator, TRH repeatedly places in the top rating percentiles nationally.

There’s no better time than National Hospital Week to reflect on every caregiver whose big hearts and deep loyalty to their patients create care environments that truly put the patient first. Every TRH clinician, administrator, and team member strengthens the health of our entire community, and we’ll be celebrating these professionals, who choose – every day – healthcare as the domain they’d rather work in than any other.

Michele Pilon, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, is the President and CNO of Transylvania Regional Hospital. Her diverse professional experience includes service as a bedside nurse and over a decade as a leader at healthcare institutions in Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina. Ms. Pilon earned a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Ohio’s University of Akron and a Masters in Health Services Administration from the University of St. Francis in Illinois; she is also a Board-Certified Nursing Executive.

For more information on Transylvania Regional Hospital, visit trhospital.org [2].