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By SMH Webmaster on 7/11/2013 4:19 PM
The advances in medical science and practice have been stunning. Putting it in perspective, prior to 1956, your chances of survival from a sudden cardiac arrest were nil (The Greater Kansas City Medical Bulletin, Fall 2012). In that article, Dr. Sherman M. Steinzeig also stated that between 1956 to 1960, new developments occurred that led to the Crash Cart and Cardiac Care Units. Prior to 1962, the death rate for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) patients admitted to a general hospital was in the range of 30 percent. According to Dr. Steinzeig, with a current CCU, the mortality rate averages 3 percent.

Going further back in the medical archives, one sees that in the 1850s, the typical medical practitioner attended one set of lectures for five or six months, perhaps less, and then the following year heard the same lectures again. If he was lucky, he got to work under the wings of another doctor. Because of the poor academic training of the U.S. medical schools, some of the best American physicians...
By SMH Webmaster on 3/13/2013 1:45 PM
An excellent article in Healthcare Marketing Report (12/2012) , written by Richard L. Cohen, summed up “patient experience” as the “great new buzz phrase in healthcare the past few years.” He further stated that “patient experience is a key element in the competitive landscape as well as becoming imperative in HCAHPS and in value—based purchasing.”

In another article published in the New England Journal of Medicine (12/26/2012), written by Matthew Manary, M.S.E., William Boulding, PhD., Richard Staelin, PhD., and Seth W. Glickman, M.D., M.B.A., the authors outline the difficulties in measuring patient experience. They also relate their information to HCAHPS, and the likeness and differences to patient satisfaction.

Besides exploring the professional literature, one cannot help but observe the enormous impact the internet and all of the apps that are available to the public. In addition, magazines are writing about everything related to healthcare. The 8/2012 issue of Consumer Reports had an article...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/7/2012 11:26 AM
It was shortly after my conversation with Ann that we were visiting again about escorting people when Carol shared that she, like Ann, had a similar experience at SMMC and that became a contributing incentive for her becoming a volunteer. I couldn't believe it that two volunteers, both motivated by the experience of being personally escorted, pursued the path of being a volunteer at SMMC. Carol, like Ann, has continued to be a volunteer for years.

There is a very clear and important message in the shared experience of Ann and Carol. When we look at patient satisfaction, when we look at making a positive impression about SMMC, when we look at how to be "Much More Than Medicine," the compassionate helping hand of personally escorting people coming through our doors is vitally important to being the best we can in providing health care to our community.

John Haynes, MS, MBA, is a retired school psychologist and a current volunteer at Shawnee Mission Medical Center (SMMC). He served as a Hospital Corpsman...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/24/2012 3:36 PM
To escape the heat of the day, my son and I were bicycling at night. Our headlights and rear red lights shine almost as bright as a car. We cycled through old downtown Lenexa and were heading west. Soon 95th turns into Prairie Star Road. At 10:00 at night, the traffic was very light. We moved quickly and silently, slicing our way through the darkness. Our bikes are extremely light and well—tuned. The bike chains get special cleaning and lubricating so that changing gears is quick and accurate. Coupled with the condition of our bikes, was that on this route, the pavement was very smooth so that we were able to ride as though we had a sail and the wind was sliding us along the surface of the sea.

We approached the bridge over Highway 7 and then, all of a sudden, there it was, standing proudly, unobstructed by any other structures, was the Shawnee Mission Outpatient Pavilion. Its lights beamed out like lighted fingers of hope reaching out to serve. It also made me think of the beacon of light from a lighthouse....
By SMH Webmaster on 6/21/2012 7:43 AM
Every so often you have the fortunate timing to witness someone who really shines in helping people. This was the case the other day at the main entrance to the hospital. On this particular day Vicki was on duty admitting patients. The morning started out like any other day. Patients came in for medical procedures and then were escorted to the surgery waiting room. All of the routine was about to cease with one phone call.

Anybody that has worked with Vicki knows her voice exhibits compassion and caring. So when the phone rang, she immediately communicated this is the caller. It was at this moment that it became very noticeable that this was not the typical caller. She was confronted with a patient with significant psychiatric issues. This complication turned the phone call into a very lengthy and demanding conversation.

While Vicki talked to the patient, the information desk was like a void. It was as if God Himself came down and ceased all activities except for the phone call. It was also strange...
By SMH Webmaster on 2/9/2012 2:57 PM
It’s common practice for corporations to have a mission statement that concisely states what they are about. Virtually every corporation has one. At SMMC our mission statement is the following:

Improving Health through Christian Service.

In analyzing our statement it becomes crystal clear that in our mission, every department is involved either directly or indirectly. This means that when an employee is cleaning a floor, they are involved with “improving health,” or when a chaplain goes to the surgery waiting room to offer spiritual support to patients, he or she is providing Christian Service. Everyone has a gift to bring to the table of healing.

One part of our mission statement that deserves particular attention is “Christian Service.” In my mind all things start from a Higher Power and everything flows down to us. This means that we have been given skills and abilities from above to be used with respect and integrity toward our patients. Interestingly, an article by Karen Abritton in the January 12, 2012 issue of Healthcare Marketing Report stated that: “But what patients demand most is respect——and respect for their intelligence is paramount. Providers can deliver that easily if they simply set expectations, offer explanations, and take time to interact.”

By SMH Webmaster on 12/1/2011 6:00 PM
Sam Turner has been the only CEO at SMMC that I have known since being a volunteer. That being said, it has been a real pleasure being associated with the hospital under his leadership. I will miss his presence. I don't know if the SMMC Staff realized how well he treated the volunteers. A case in point was when I would meet him in the hallway and he would greet me by first name. That would take some doing when you consider the number of people he interacts with everyday. I also heard from other volunteers that he would greet them by first name. Sam treated us with respect and for that, Sam has high respect and esteem with the volunteers.

I would like to share a rather humorous experience I had with Sam. It was shortly after I became a volunteer and Sam didn't know me at that time. He only knew I was a volunteer from my shirt and ID badge. Sam had entered the hospital from the Emergency Department entrance and I was bringing a wheelchair to that location. I recognized Sam and knew he was the CEO. When he...
By SMH Webmaster on 9/26/2011 2:59 PM
The Global Picture

Too often the attitude on patient safety is that the health care provider is solely responsible. This is not true. You, as patient, need to be proactive in your medical treatment and prevention program. This means that you should look at yourself as part of the medical team and share the responsibility. Patient safety is a large and complex challenge that requires the cooperation and expertise of the whole team. provides you with a wealth of information involving patient safety. Listed below are some links that address patient safety:

How You Can Get Involved in Your CarePatient Experience InitiativesPatient Safety

Another extremely valuable service is the ASK—A—NURSE Resource Center available at 913—676—7777.

By SMH Webmaster on 8/3/2011 10:20 AM
Bill was in shock when he received a text message from Roger’s wife stating that Roger was in an auto accident and was rushed to Shawnee Mission Medical Center. The message also said he was now out of ER and in room 322 and that Bill should go to the main entrance of SMMC in order to get to the third floor. Bill knew the location of the hospital but had never been inside. For Bill, hospitals spelled sickness and death. As a consequence, he avoided them if at all possible. In this case, however, Roger was one of Bill’s closest friends and a long—standing fishing buddy. He would make an exception for his injured friend.

It was an easy drive to SMMC but finding the main entrance was another matter. Nor did it help Bill think clearly when he was feeling anxious and stressed by being at a hospital. He did spy some revolving doors that had the appearance of a formal main entrance. He was in for a rude awakening! Upon entering, he asked a lady in the front if this was the main entrance and then was informed that it was around on the east side of the hospital.

By SMH Webmaster on 7/12/2011 10:56 AM
Even the casual observer can’t help but notice the enormous strides the medical field has made. What is common practice today was a virtual impossibility a few years ago. As a consequence, according to, “ . . . heart failure and heart attack rates have fallen by nearly half from 1999 to 2005.” This same source also states that “in the past ten years over 300 new medicines have been approved by the FDA.” Certainly, many of these advancements have been the result of the tremendous growth in technology. Information technology has in a word, revolutionized hospitals from facility management to surgery.

So with all of the medical and technical advances, what separates the so— so hospitals from the great ones? To assist in analyzing this topic, it may be beneficial to read Jim Collins book, “Good to Great.” That being said, what is the root cause analysis why hospitals are not created equal? All of the technology and information is out there for everybody. So why is it a hospital can have a well—educated...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/23/2011 8:36 AM
What really goes through a patient’s mind and what emotions are felt? How do they view their patient experience at SMMC? I’ve often wondered about these questions. Being a volunteer at the main entrance admissions, you see people coming in for a variety of procedures and you can’t help but imagine what it is really like. Then it dawned on me...I could volunteer for a procedure! I must quickly confess that when my doctor talked to me about getting a colonoscopy I don’t recall that he used the word “volunteer.” With that clarification, I would invite you to travel with me on the “volunteer procedure at SMMC.”

First stop on the journey was the all—important, palm sweating call to schedule the procedure. Being somewhat of sound mind and body, a colonoscopy had been something very difficult to schedule because I have always had more important things to do. Finally I began to wonder what was wrong with my busy calendar. It became particularly evident when my doctor told me he didn’t want to have a discussion about it again next year. To be blunt, I was behaving in a cowardly manner. When I talked with the nurse at Dr. Michael Thompson’s office, she was very reassurring and explained the required preparation before the procedure. As soon as I heard about the clear liquid diet the day before, I immediately had the urge to stuff myself with food. And all of those “cleansing pills” weren’t exactly heartwarming.

By SMH Webmaster on 3/1/2011 1:44 PM
The title of this article did not originate with me. In fact, I had never heard of anyone using these complimentary words until the other day. That being said, let me share with you what I would call a heart—warming experience.

It all started when I was going to pick up a patient in the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC). It was like any other day at the Information Desk, at the main entrance. You greet people, help them find their way, and pick up patients that have completed a procedure and need to be escorted to their vehicle. On this particular day ACC called and asked for a volunteer to pick up a patient. Once the call is received you head for a wheelchair without any conscious thinking. You then point yourself towards the entrance to ACC and mechanically scan your ID card and in you go.

Phase 2 requires a rather high level of cognitive processing: you need to remember what cubicle number was told to you on the phone. With some slow mental gyrations, I remember the number. At this point, I wheel the...
By SMH Webmaster on 12/20/2010 4:28 PM
It’s at this time of the year we tend to turn inward and reflect on what is really important in our lives. When we strip all of the clutter and distractions, we ask ourselves “what’s our purpose and mission in life ?” Make no mistake, mission and purpose are the energizers that ignite passion and clarity in our lives.

With that said, I would like to reaffirm the special calling we have at SMMC. There is nothing more humbling than helping the ill and injured and improving their well—being. This strikes at the core of our personal mission in life. In the big picture, all of the SMMC departments are woven into this passionate and caring mission. I personally believe such a mission is very special and should generate high self—esteem to all SMMC employees.

Attached to our purpose and mission is the humbling responsibility not to exaggerate or inflate our knowledge, skills and intelligence. This reminds me of a quote above a school stage saying “If You See Farther Than Others It’s Because You Have Stood...
By SMH Webmaster on 10/27/2010 9:49 AM
Even though my acquaintance with Peter was brief compared to other SMMC staff, I was strongly impacted by him. Nor can I describe all that he did as a Chaplain in the Spiritual Wellness Department. What I would like to do is to simply share with you some of my thoughts and to complement and thank Peter.

The first thought that comes to mind was that Peter was vibrant and enthusiastic. He was full of ideas and knowledge and you could tell he would get excited about topics of discussion. His intellect was alive and active. I really appreciated this in Peter and wished I had the opportunity to spend more time with him. Not only did he have an active intellect, he also had the capacity to turn ideas into action. It seemed like he was very aware he had a mission and purpose in life. You might say the “Spirit was with him.”

As many of you know, Peter was an excellent writer and wrote articles on the Spiritual Wellness Blog. Peter was also the person who supported, guided, and encouraged me to write on the...
By SMH Webmaster on 8/30/2010 9:58 AM
It was a typical day at the main entrance admissions desk. People were admitted and visitors were inquiring about room numbers. Everything was what you may refer to as “normal operating procedures.” This all changed when an elderly lady came to the Information Desk and asked how to get to her husband’s room. Fatigue and stress were written on her face and one couldn’t help but be concerned about her fragile condition. It was explained to her that it would be a rather long walk to her husband’s room and would she like to go by wheelchair. She replied back that her doctor wanted her to do walking.

With that we started down the corridor, however, she appeared quite weak and I became more concerned about how exhausted she appeared. I asked her if she would be willing to use the wheelchair for at least half of the way. With that she said okay and after getting half way down the hallway, she said that maybe it would be best to go all the way by wheelchair.

By the time we got to her husband’s room,...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/21/2010 9:46 AM
“Thank you, Doctor, for seeing me on such short notice on Friday afternoon. I just feel I need to talk to a professional about my dilemma.”

“That’s quite all right, Mr. Haynes, that’s what we’re here for. In looking at your medical history, it’s pretty uneventful. I also see you are a volunteer at Shawnee Mission Medical Center.”

“Yes, Doctor, and that’s where I have the problem and need your help.”

“I see, Mr. Haynes, that your referral came through the hospital Behavioral Assessment Department.”

“Yes, sir, that is correct.”

“So, Mr. Haynes, are you having a problem with the hospital or the staff?”

“Oh, no! I have nothing but praise for them.” “Well then, what or where is your dilemma?” “Doctor, this is hard for me to talk about but here goes. First of all, I really look forward to going to the hospital to do volunteer work. People are friendly and the work environment is excellent. They even feed me for my labor. Mostly, however, I really get an uplifting...
By SMH Webmaster on 6/16/2010 1:35 PM
It seems like every time you open the newspaper the subject of increased health care costs shows its ugly head. Couple that with the ongoing debate on the effectiveness and cost of health care reform. It can get to the point where one wonders if there is anything positive about our system. More times than not, the news media frequently focuses on the negative and scans the globe to find what is bad or not working and totally disregards reporting on successes. When it comes to success, let me share a significant positive to help control health care costs by maximizing the utilization of hospital volunteers.

In analyzing the cost savings for 2009 for Shawnee Mission Medical Center, the savings amounted to $2,143,651. This was accomplished by using 474 volunteers that directly impacted virtually every department of the hospital. By capitalizing on the use of volunteers, management is able to more effectively use human resources. In addition, there are no salaries, health insurance, or any other monetary payroll...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/17/2010 1:59 PM
With the growing increase in the cost of healthcare and the ever—growing burden on our health system, there is an immediate need to find ways to enhance wellness and treatments that are economically feasible to all concerned. With that in mind, one method to help this occur is living our lives promoting kindness in our day—to—day activities. This may sound ridiculously simple, however, practicing kindness helps to keep us well. To be really effective, one must think of it on a daily basis. Next you should take a conscious and deliberate approach and write a specific plan on what things you can do daily that would show kindness towards others and also towards yourself. If you don’t write anything down, it is very easy to revert back to your former behavior.

Before proceeding further, it may be helpful to emphasize the power of the mind on your health and well—being. In emergency survival situations, the will to live is often the deciding factor on whether a person lives or dies. We also find the prognosis...
By SMH Webmaster on 5/11/2010 1:16 PM
The hospital volunteer at SMMC has an outstanding opportunity to provide copious amounts of that valuable commodity that we refer to as "Much More Than Medicine." It begins when the volunteer makes that first one—to—one human contact with a greeting. It is at this time we are conveying the message that we see you as much more than a series of medical terms, insurance cards, or a billing number. We see each person coming through our doors as a guest that is treated with care and respect. In simple terms, we treat visitors and patients as if it was us being admitted as a patient. By operating in this manner, we recognize that people coming to us have emotional and behavioral needs that intertwine with the purely medical diagnostic profile.

So now let's examine how the volunteer can practice care and respect. Again, it all starts at the doorstep. Have you noticed that when you smile and say "good morning," there's a strong likelihood the person will also smile back? This probably has more power than we realize....
Shawnee Mission Medical Center
9100 West 74th Street
Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66204
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Prairie Star
23401 Prairie Star Parkway
Lenexa, Kansas 66227
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