Healthcare workers aim to perfect patient care experience across National Capital Region
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, addresses healthcare leaders from across the National Capital Region Multi-Service Market at the Fall Quality Training Symposium on Fort Belvoir Nov. 10. The all-day event featured several civilian and military healthcare professionals presenting on the symposium theme, "Perfecting the Patient Experience and Culture of Quality." (Department of Defense photo by Reese Brown)
by Alexandra Snyder
Belvoir Community Hospital Public Affairs
FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Nov. 10, 2015) -- With a focus on perfecting patient care, hundreds of medical care professionals throughout the National Capital Region Multi-Service Market converged here for the Fall Quality Training Symposium.

The day-long conference featured leaders in the civilian healthcare industry and Military Health System who discussed innovations in healthcare while encouraging healthcare workers to focus on humanizing the patient experience and improving safety.

There is always work to be done to maintain a focus on the patient care experience, said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, who explained the importance of healthcare leaders understanding what is administratively cumbersome in the healthcare system and what needs to be done to improve patient outcomes and the patient experience.

“Medicine is primarily a patient experience, and we must keep [the patient] at the center of everything we do,” Woodson said. “When we adopt a culture that is focused on the patient, focused on safety, and focused on transparency – that’s where our greatest strength will lie as an organization.”

Patient-focused care is everyone’s responsibility in the organization from housekeepers to surgeons, said Dr. Bridget Duffy, who is the former chief experience officer at Cleveland Clinic and now serves as the chief medical officer for Vocera Communications.  Just as position shouldn’t limit a staff member’s investment in providing quality care, a patient’s status shouldn’t define his experience either, she said.

Care is important no matter “who you are or who you know,” Duffy said. It’s about receiving “a great experience from the time you’re diagnosed to the time you’re discharged.”

As the largest component of the Defense Health Agency, the NCR Medical Directorate directs 13 military treatment facilities across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia, overseeing the care of more than 320,000 patients.

“We would not be here if not for our patients. I want you to be able to… recognize what we can do to be able to make our system into something that is very responsive, safe and truly designed around our patients – because they’re the ones who matter the most,” said Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency.

Since its inception, the National Capital Region’s Quality Symposium has focused on providing perfect care to every patient every time. The symposium’s theme, “Perfecting the patient experience and the culture of quality,” reflects not only the NCR Multi-Service Market’s commitment to exceptional care, but delivering that care consistently and reliably, Bono said. There are many facets to quality, but none is more important than what transpires in the context of the patient experience.