Griffin Hospital of Derby, CT is an award-winning, 160 bed hospital. It is the only hospital to have appeared on Fortune magazine’s “Best Companies to Work For” for ten consecutive years. This week Pat Charmel, CEO of Griffin, described how his beginning was less than auspicious.
“When we started, we did a survey of the area around the hospital. In the region are several other hospitals, so we asked the people to rank them 1st, 2nd and 3rd as preference, and which hospital would they avoid. The results were not encouraging: No one ranked Griffin at all, and a third actually said they’d avoid it. That’s when I knew how much we really had to do to turn the hospital around.”
I asked Pat what he did to turn around the hospital.
“We surveyed all of our departments, and the one that came out worst was our obstetrics. In fact it was so bad an outside consultant suggested we close it.”
What were the things he did to turn around the obstetrics department?
“We turned the traditional maternity unit on its head. We created a welcoming, home like environment for women, but it was really based on empowerment and information. First of all we moved to all private rooms. We installed a jacuzzi in our maternity ward to help relieve pain early in a woman’s labour. We also embraced the whole family in the birthing experience by having specially designed double beds put into private rooms so the husband could stay with his wife from start to when the three of them could leave. In the past the husbands were relegated to the proverbial waiting room. So our approach to vastly changing our obstetrics department was the start of the transformation of Griffin.”
From that auspicious beginning, Pat Charmel has raised the profile and patient centric care to one of the highest in the nation. It has won numerous awards for their approach, including awards for their nursing staff and the NAACP for their diversity program.