In the face of a worldwide pandemic, Mount Sinai’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science had a singular mission—to preserve the profound joy of childbirth.
The department leaned on the values of safety, teamwork, creativity, agility, equity, and empathy during these challenging times. Staff often spent more time with patients given the limited visitor policy, which meant many mothers delivered without the comfort of their family and friends. Patients felt the staff’s presence: In 2020, Obstetrics patients reported a 5 percent increase in nursing staff checking in on them “every hour.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amidst the chaos and confusion during COVID-19, my care team stepped in to be like the family I couldn’t have,” said a Mount Sinai patient who delivered her baby in April 2020.
The crisis further emphasized the OB/GYN Department’s promise to put patients at the center of everything they do. In September 2020, the Department of OB/GYN and Women’s Services held their inaugural Patient Experience Summit, led by Toni Stern, MD, MS, MBA, System Vice Chair, Clinical Transformation, and Chief Patient Experience Officer, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Erin Figueroa, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Senior Director of Nursing, Women’s Services, Mount Sinai Health System.
“We are focused on all aspects of our patient experience, because we know how critical it is to the quality and safety of all of our patients,” Michael Brodman, MD, the Ellen and Howard C. Katz Chairman’s Chair of Obstetrics,
Gynecology and Reproductive Science, said during the Summit. The Summit brought together the entire department to underscore the importance of patient-centered teamwork, and announced a formal commitment that all OB/GYN staff must adopt. “Our interdisciplinary team has developed the Patient Experience Commitment that outlines the dedication we have to our patients and equity,” said Dr. Stern.
The Summit also highlighted how equity must be a guiding force in the mission to provide the best care to every patient, every time. “Non-Hispanic Black and American Indian/Alaska Native birthing people are nearly three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause. The data has shown that three out of five pregnancy-related deaths are preventable,” Dr. Stern said.
“We are committed to ending racism and disparities in care,” Ms. Figueroa said. “We strive to change the social determinants of health that affect the morbidity and mortality of pregnant mothers and babies in the Health System and across
the globe. Our mission is to provide access to quality health care which is caring, compassionate, just, and equitable for all of our patients.”
Resident physicians in OB/GYN created an Anti-Racism Mission Statement that further highlights the department’s commitment to addressing barriers to equitable treatment and implicit bias that may exist.
The Department and the Office of Patient Experience have partnered to drive the commitment to safe, equitable, compassionate care, creating
an OB/GYN and Patient Experience infrastructure, including a network of committees that facilitate system-wide communication, teamwork, and alignment on patient experience efforts.
The committees, led by Dr. Stern, are committed to a data-driven approach. In one crucial initiative, the Obstetrics Patient Experience and Quality Dashboard was developed to incorporate a wide range of data, from safety to quality
to experience, in an accessible and interactive format. “We engaged our interdisciplinary faculty and staff, and with the support of our excellent Clinical Decision Support Team and Office of Patient Experience, we developed the Dashboard,” said Dr. Stern. “The journey to providing full integration of key quality, patient experience, operational, and demographic metrics for each obstetric facility, unit, provider, and group was very important.”
The OB/GYN Patient Experience committees have designed and carried out multiple interventions to date, always informed by the voices of patients and staff. For example, the OB/GYN Department, in partnership with Marketing,
developed a new theme line: “Your journey begins here.”
“As we navigate our path forward on this journey, we must continue to utilize the voices of the patients and staff to formulate our strategic vision and ensure equitable care,” Dr. Stern said. “We will continue to foster a culture of inclusion and continuous improvement.”
“I give a perfect 10 to the provider and her office staff. In my personal experiences, they have
continuously displayed professionalism and care. The office staff assure to ensure our safety
protocols and protection. I am very fond of the medical attentiveness and questions when
– Office Visit, Mount Sinai West OB/GYN
Toni Stern, MD, MS, MBA
System Vice Chair, Clinical Transformation, and Chief Patient Experience Officer, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science
Erin Figueroa, MSN, RN, NE-BC
Senior Director of Nursing, Women’s Services, Mount Sinai Health System