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NHS heading in new direction to improve trust & reputation

Posted Jul 28th, 2011

Trust & Reputation N H S Trust 2011 07 28
NIAGARA, ON: The Niagara Health System (NHS) is heading in a new direction by working with an international leader in trust and reputation to improve the hospital’s relationship with the communities it serves.

“Our communities in Niagara deserve better, and we will be taking bold steps in the coming weeks and months to address trust and reputation issues at the NHS,” says Interim President and CEO Dr. Sue Matthews. “Our communities deserve to have hospitals they trust and are proud of. Today, there is a disconnect between what we are trying to achieve and how we are viewed.”

“We are committed to a new way of doing business, to maximizing our transparency, acknowledging our shortcomings and learning from our mistakes as a learning organization,” says Dr. Matthews. “We will be engaging our communities in new and meaningful ways to help us improve our relationships with them.”

Dr. Terrence Flynn, an international expert on trust and reputation at McMaster University, will work with the NHS to understand the depth and nature of the hospital’s challenges on a community-by-community basis using unfiltered, objective information. Dr. Flynn, who holds a doctoral degree in mass communications, will produce an independent report using the best research practices, which will be published. The hospital will produce and act on an action plan in response to Dr. Flynn’s findings.

“Every resident of Niagara deserves the best healthcare, and our healthcare team is dedicated to providing the best possible experiences to those we serve,” says Dr. Matthews. “We will continue to strive for excellence as evidenced by a culture of continuous improvement in safety, quality, and the way we do business.”

An eight-point action plan developed to guide the first phase of the process for the NHS promises to:

  1. Continue to strive for the highest standards of patient safety, quality, and excellence
  2. Assess our reputation and relationship with our community; share the results and action plan; implement improvements
  3. Commit to a culture of transparency and clear and timely communication
  4. Renew our process for dealing with complaints and quality issues; share our performance with the community
  5. Embrace the spirit of open mindedness and consensus building; support the Hospital Improvement Plan evaluation and outcomes
  6. Renew vacancies in our leadership ranks with individuals who support the new culture
  7. CEO & Chief of Staff to lead improvement of relationship with Medical Staff
  8. Exceed government requirements for infection control; become advocates for stricter reporting standards in Ontario

“We know that there are many complex issues that we need to tackle in order to improve our relationship with the communities we serve,” says Dr. Matthews. “We don’t claim to have all the answers, but we will listen. We understand that our action plan won’t fix everything. We hope it is a good start, and we will build on it with other initiatives in the coming months and years ahead.”

Niagara Health System