A Peek Into the Future

On my last day at the HIMSS conference, I took a few hours off volunteering and headed north of the river to visit my old friends at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, which is where I interned last summer (the summer, which I affectionately called “The Summer of Garett“).

My summer project was related to improving the patient/customer experience at the breast imaging center. At the time I arrived last summer, there were a lot of issues affecting the center, ranging from a shortage of mammography radiologists, long wait times for appointments, and poor customer service overall. Although I only spent twelve weeks at the center, I felt I managed to get a good grasp and perspective of what was going on there and more importantly, how to make improvements.

Although I have kept in touch with my preceptors via email and had heard periodically about the improvements that were made since the summer, it was quite a different experience seeing some of the changes first hand. After “interrupting” a manager meeting with my old preceptors and declaring that I have initiated a leveraged buy out of NMH as part of the launch of Garett-Care, my old bosses joked about how much improvement the center has had in the “A.G” (“After Garett”) era and that there would sure to be a spike in improvement once I leave. Ouch.

More seriously though, they told me about how they implemented some of the changes I recommended and they have seen immediate results and improvements in customer service and wait times. To take it a step further, in order to help reduce the time for an appointment, they even reached out to competing hospitals to get patients the screenings that they need. I couldn’t help but feel a small sense of satisfaction and pride at how far they have gotten towards improving the patient experience. Sure, there is still work to be done, but the lengths they have gone are incredible.

As many of you will encounter through your summer internship, it’s absolutely wonderful to be doing great work in whatever projects or research you become a part of. But the bigger question is who will take over and continue that great work once you have to come back to New Haven. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones that got to see the work continue after I left. As you work on your projects, I encourage you to think about it and make sure your work lasts beyond your stay.

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One Response

  1. Garett: Great advice. I’ll keep that in mind while I’m there. ^^

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