Keeping Patients Safe at The DMC

Employees from DMC talking
A group of employees from the DMC

The Detroit Medical Center has always worked hard to provide the best care to all patients seeking treatment. But if you’ve visited one of the DMC’s eight hospitals within the last year, you may have noticed even more top-of-the-line care. That’s because the Detroit-based medical system adopted its “Path to the Top” program in 2016 with the aim of landing a slot on the coveted Truven “top 15” health systems list.

The basic idea behind this “path” was to unite each of the hospitals to work together to create an environment in which every DMC employee – from the cooks that prepare the patients’ food to the highest level surgeons and executives – would work toward this common goal every single day.

“What it means is that we need all of the employees to think about the jobs that they have and the contributions that they can make to the patients that they serve that will thrust us forward on our path to becoming a top 15 medical center,” says Conrad Mallett, executive vice president and chief administration officer of the DMC.

However, when the system came under fire after some gaps in the hospital collective’s surgical sterilization processes were revealed, DMC’s new CEO, Dr. Anthony Tedeschi, knew this was one of the first things he needed to address. As a result, the hospitals added a critical new standard that would ensure the quality of care offered at DMC – “Keep Our Patients Safe.”

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our patients,” Dr. Tedeschi says. “My role as the CEO coming in was to support the ongoing organizational efforts to improve our processes of care.”

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And improve those processes he did. With the help of the staff, DMC has been able to work on correcting the sterilization processes that were formerly utilized.

“We continually evaluate that all standards are being met in (the surgical sterilization) area – as well as all others,” Dr. Tedeschi explains.

In addition to cracking down on oversights by its Perioperative Council, the taskforce in charge of its sterilization efforts, the DMC is also working to improve performance reviews, making investments in equipment and also re-educating staff. All with great success.

“Our Children’s Hospital of Michigan surgeon-in-chief, Dr. Joseph Lelli, was publicly quoted as saying, ‘I have seen a deliberate and consistent effort on the part of our DMC team members to ensure our surgical services are being safely delivered with the highest quality of care and use of best industry practices,’” Dr. Tedeschi says.

Dr. Lelli also added that he would trust Children’s Hospital to perform surgery on his own children.

Despite the improvements already being made, Dr. Tedeschi says he and the rest of the DMC staff are committed to push the bar and constantly strive to improve efficiencies and the quality of care that they offer thousands of patients each year.

“Our work on improving quality is never complete or done,” Dr. Tedeschi says. “We are on a journey to be a highly reliable organization, redefining success and establishing best practices. (And) because of this journey, we are committed to continue to evaluate and assure that all standards are being met in all areas of our operations.” 

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