circa. Fall 2013.
This Friday, for my third week of interviews, I was still privileged to have Jennifer Sheckler embarking on this educational journey with me. Again, Jennifer is currently the health administrative lead at the Children & Teens Medical Center, in Schaumburg, IL. She works along side with a team of a dozen physicians, as well as a group of health administrative assistants. This facility mainly focuses on family medicine, in which they specialize their care delivery towards those mainly 18 years or younger in age. In my opinion, this third week of interviews was more rushed than the others. Unfortunately, it was a Friday and I could only assume that Jennifer was in a hurry to get home. I don’t blame her. Nonetheless, she was still very insightful, informing me on her everyday life.
According to their website, and as briefly summarized by Jennifer, their mission and goals gear towards catering to the health care needs of the pediatric population (Children & Teens Medical Center, 2013). As written, their practice “delivers state-of-the-art pediatric health care with integrity and compassion while respecting the dignity and diversity of our patients (Children & Teen Medical Center, 2013).” Jennifer emphasizes that “customer service” is the number one most valued responsibility, which structures their movement into achieving their goals. I inquired about her choice to use the word “responsibility,” instead of simply using “goal” or some other relating term. And interestingly, she replied by saying that she feels that the term “responsibility” has no end, rather emphasizing that customer service is always a “reoccurring aspect to better ourselves for our patients.”
Jennifer takes great pride in trying to achieve complete patient satisfaction. As noted, quality of service and patient satisfaction are just a couple examples of internal focuses of health care administration (Buchbinder & Shanks, 2012). She stresses attempts, along with her team, to reach out to their patients at least on a monthly basis. This allows them to get feedback from their patients, as well as to stay in touch with them, to be able to continue catering the proper care. What I found most interesting about her preferences in reaching out to their patients is that she prefers reaching out to their patients through a phone call or paper form, rather than electronically like most facilities. She strongly believes that, though technology has its benefits, it can drastically impersonalize the patient & provider relationship and delivery.
When it comes to organizational structure within the facility, rather than specifying a stratified hierarchical leadership chart, Jennifer focuses on the collaborative “can do” attitude. She mentions that every team member is a key player in achieving the mission of the facility. This includes everyone from administrative assistants, to the secretaries and janitorial-cleaning staff. She quotes, “not only do we attempt to specialize in family medicine, we also consider ourselves a close knit family.” Jennifer attempts to plan staffing events, as well as hold many team-building workshops and team-meetings. Of course, when it comes down to more specific and medically related issues, the administrative staff and physicians are usually the ones to only meet. She continues this statement by emphasizing how she believes that this especially benefits their practice because it allows the staff to work as friends rather than acquaintances/colleagues. And as a result, she believes that it crafts a more positive, energetic, focused environment.
Though the interview was more expressively vague this time around, I truly felt that I have gained outside views that solidified my understanding of the importance of internal relationships and operations. Whether it is between doctors and administrators, administrators and supportive staff, or administrators and patients, the growth of relationships in general between people excels towards productivity and a greater delivery towards caring for others. In addition, “precise” care medically, as well as in regards to technology and finances, is such a valued aspect of operating a well-kept health care facility. In the end, health-care facilities are operated as any great business would. If all aspects of the organization are well kept and focus on delivering the best possible service to their customers, then as result, the organization will be able to succeed in achieving their goals.
Buchbinder, S., Shanks, N. (2012). Introduction to health care management. Burlington, MA. Jones & Bartlett Learning
Childrens & Teens Medical Center. (2013). Mission statement. Schaumburg, IL. Retrieved from http://www.childrenandteens.com/meet_physicians/index.html