When University of Colorado Health unveiled their Standards of Excellence in 2013, the goal was to unite all 15,000 employees toward the UCHealth mission. The five standards – Service, Quality, Team, Personal, and Communication – were a roadmap to follow in times of change, toward the vision “from health care to health.”
One year later and no one embodies these values better than Michael T. McDermott, MD, Professor of Medicine and Clinical Pharmacy, Endocrinology and Director of the Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes Practice. Dr. McDermott, who spent 20 years in the U.S. Army serving as Chief of the Endocrinology Service, has a philosophy of care that epitomizes the Team and Personal standards: he provides patients the opportunity to achieve optimal health through a partnership incorporating their personal health goals and philosophies and his best evidence-based advice.
Echo P. Vogel from the Service Excellence department at UCHealth notes how Dr. McDermott exudes the Team spirit: “Dr. McDermott regularly encourages his clinic staff as well as others around the organization, and always shares stories of success. He works diligently with other physicians and clinics to provide the best possible care for our patients, and consistently thanks his team for all that they do.”
Dr. McDermott explains that caring for patients is a team effort. “From the appointment process, checking in, and refills to follow-up phone calls … the patient needs to have a good experience at every step of the way. My practice manager and I work closely together to ensure a team approach. It’s extremely important to value clinic team-members … People need to know that they are valued, that they are safe here – physically safe from mistreatment and safe to be able to tell us their opinions.”
ndeed, it is by excelling in the Team standard that UCHealth is able to succeed in all five standards. “Some of the best suggestions we’ve had for working better in clinic come from our staff who are here day in and day out,” said Dr. McDermott. “They see the workflow and give us suggestions for improvement. Their ideas are invaluable.”
Dr. McDermott also demonstrates an excellent Personal standard on a daily basis. “He treats everyone – every person, every time – with compassion and respect,” Vogel explains. “His words are kind and caring, even when discussing a stressful subject or disciplinary matter. He is open to change and thoughtfully processes ideas regarding adjustments or alterations.”
“Conflict is a natural part of living and working together,” says Dr. McDermott. “You have to ask what caused the conflict to arise and how to resolve it. It’s about being a leader … we need to consider what is best for the group as a whole and best for our patients. When we move forward as a group, we deliver better care.”
Dr. McDermott is modest about his achievements. “It’s an honor and a privilege for patients to choose you to manage their health care,” he said. “It’s the highest honor someone can pay you.”
Learn more about the UCHealth Standards of Excellence.
Each year, Children’s Hospital Colorado’s patient satisfaction survey vendor (Professional Research Consultants or recognizes healthcare organizations and individuals who have achieved excellence throughout the previous year.
CHCO’s Christine Waasdorp Hurtado, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology, has received this year’s Overall Top Performer Award for quality of care. This award is PRC’s highest honor, awarded annually to the healthcare facility, healthcare provider, outpatient service line, and inpatient unit that receives the highest ratings for overall quality of care for the previous year.
Dr. Hurtado said she was honored to receive the award. “It really means a lot that my patients feel they receive excellent care from me,” she said. “This is my primary goal!”
CHCO as an organization has improved their patient satisfaction scores every year since 2008, a reflection of staff and providers’ passion and commitment, and the excellent care they provide every day.
As part of the satisfaction survey process, CHCO surveys more than 21,000 patients/families per year. Within the Medical Practice and ED/Urgent Care areas, surveys are tied to the specific provider that the patient saw during their visit. For these areas, the sample size is 50 surveys per year per provider, performed via telephone within seven days from the date of discharge or clinic visit.
Survey results are vital for healthcare organizations striving for excellence. Studies show that patients who rate a provider as excellent when asked, “How would you rate the overall quality of care you received?” are 6-8 times more likely to recommend that provider.
Dr. Hurtado’s philosophy is that patient care should be patient-centered. “In pediatrics this means both patient- and family-centered. It is important to address the reason for the consult, but also to address the fears and concerns of the patients and their families,” she said. “My patients know they can reach me or my nurse, Kirstin Wallin, with any questions or concerns. They have a safety net after they leave our office.”
Thousands of people volunteer for clinical trials each year at the School of Medicine. Some offer payment; others give free health exams and follow-up.
View the CU Clinical Trials Website for volunteer opportunities.