||Lauren Johnston, Senior Assistant VP, Office of Patient Centered Care, and Chief Nurse.
Lauren Johnston loved working as an emergency room nurse, not just because that's where she met her husband of 27 years - a police officer roaming the ED -but because of the never ending challenges and opportunities to make it better for patients.
"In the ED, you can make a difference immediately. It's never the same situation from one hour to the next. It's challenging and fascinating. But I guess the same can be said about my new role at HHC," says Johnston, MPA, FACHE, who in October was appointed with the dual role of Senior Assistant Vice President in charge of the HHC Office of Patient Centered Care and Corporate Chief Nurse Executive.
HHC tapped Johnston to lead a number of strategic initiatives to transform care at the bedside and help instill a culture of patient-centered care that is based on "dignity, respect and collaboration," she says. Part of her focus will be to help HHC facilities achieve high patient and employee satisfaction scores. In the first quarter of 2011, she will be supervising the corporate-wide rollout of online employee and physician satisfaction surveys.
"Lauren will be responsible for developing and managing our corporate strategy to coordinate current and new efforts in the area of patient-centered care," said Dr. Ross Wilson, HHC Corporate Chief Medical Officer. "This new role will strengthen our commitment to having patients and their families at the center of all our care delivery and is fundamental to the design and delivery of healthcare by HHC in the future."
And according to Johnston, the healthcare industry still has a lot more to learn from patients in order to build the true patient-centered healthcare system she wants HHC to become.
"It's not enough to say we have cured the problem, administered the right medication, or shared the discharge plan," she says. "We need to listen to our patients, talk to their families, make sure they really understand what we are saying and what is happening to them, and show them we care at a deep and personal level."
That doesn't mean that patient care is not at the forefront now at HHC, she says. "It's more a reflection of how healthcare has evolved into a demanding, complex, one way exchange of giving care and information rather than an exchange that allows providers to build relationships with patients as customers."
At HHC, Johnston says, this vision of "patient-centeredness" begins by helping the staff on the front lines of care. Johnston will be responsible for partnering with Chief Nurses across the HHC system to help navigate issues related to staffing, technology competency, standardization and efficiency.
"As a large healthcare system, we have to treat our nurses as our customers too. We have to make sure we give them the tools they need to do their job, and that we take away the obstacles that prevent them from spending that extra time, or making that personal connection," adds Johnston.
Before this appointment, Johnston served as Chief Nurse Officer, then Chief Operating Officer, at HHC's Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center. Prior to HHC, she worked in various nursing and executive positions at Westchester Medical Center. Johnston holds a BSN from Pace University and an MPA from Pace University. She is also a Certified Nurse Administrator Advanced and a Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives.
Johnston lives in Stamford, Conn., with her husband, Tom, who she met when she was an ER nurse and he was a local police officer who would frequently arrive with accident victims or to settle a rowdy crowd in the waiting room. He's now retired from the police department and teaches social studies. They have two daughters.