Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Courage to be first

Since the early 90s, numerous newspapers, magazines and radio and TV broadcasts have told the story of Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s efforts to change for the better the way patients experience hospitals.

MCMC appeared in a Bill Moyer’s PBS series called “Healing and the Mind” and was even featured in a book highlighting American companies noted for their outstanding customer service.

But now the hospital that many say has written the book on how to create a true patient-centered healing environment has had an entire book written about it. Courage to be First:  The Journey of Mid-Columbia Medical Center Becoming the First Planetree Hospital in America was released in March by Second River Healthcare Press.

The book tells the story of MCMC’s dramatic transformation over the last two decades, beginning with the hospital’s implementation of the Planetree model of care in the early 90s.  MCMC’s story was written by Dick Baltus, as told by former CEO Mark Scott, current CEO Duane Francis and many hospital employees, with Leland Kaiser, Ph.D., offering commentary after each chapter.

Baltus is a consultant and writer, who served as the MCMC’s part-time public relations director during the Planetree implementation and continues to work with the hospital today.  Kaiser is a renowned healthcare futurist, motivational speaker and authority on America’s healthcare system.  He was introduced to Scott after hearing about MCMC’s transformative work. 

Kaiser visited the hospital several times and, when Scott retired from MCMC in 2002, Kaiser proposed they collaborate on a book about the process of changing so profoundly their manner in which hospitals treated their patients.

Courage to be First is targeted at readers in the healthcare management industry, as well as any business committed to improving customer service.  Like the hospital itself, the book has received enthusiastic reviews. 

B. Joseph Pine, co-author of The Experience Economy (named one of The Best 100 Business Books of All Time) wrote:  “There is not a hospital in the world – or any company in the healthcare field, for that matter – that could not benefit from this enlightening book.  Read how Mid-Columbia Medical Center has transformed itself into a shining light so you, too, can inspire your employees, enhance your patient experience and improve your outcomes.”

And from John Nance, the author of Why Hospitals Should Fly:  “The very concept of a true patient-centered hospital – the vision of patients actually being partners in their own care – should have never been a radical idea.  But somehow along the evolution of healthcare, it became just that.  ‘Courage to be First’ is the story of how a visionary hospital CEO made it live again in the form of a Planetree Hospital.  What the concepts of St. Michael’s (Hospital) do for patient safety and quality, ‘Courage to be First’ does for the long-dormant soul of American Healthcare.”

President/CEO Francis says the book will serve as a lasting tribute to Scott, the hospital board and management team, and all the physicians, nurses and employees who over the years have remained committed to a vision that began as a bold experiment and has turned into a way of life at MCMC.

“It took a lot of vision, and frankly a lot of guts, to attempt something that was considered so revolutionary at the time,” Francis says.  “This was an industry that was not very comfortable with change in the early 90s, and to attempt to change the status quo, at least in this small corner of the world, really required a leap of faith.

“I think it’s very appropriate that the story of how that happened successfully at MCMC be chronicled. Courage to be First will serve as a lasting tribute to all the people who ensured this hospital became a true place of healing that was worth writing, and reading, about.”Courage to be First is available for purchase on-line at www.couragetobefirst.com