C&A is holding a series of dialogues, published in our newsletter, with leaders in the field around the topic of patent safety. These dialogues are shared with the hope of creating synergy among the work of quality improvement, regulatory compliance and patient safety initiatives. This month we provide an interview featuring Marty Piepoli, MSW, LISW/CP, CHFM, HACP, Senior Consultant at Courtemanche & Associates.
Marty is celebrating his tenth year at C&A. He is well regarded for his expansive knowledge of life safety and environment of care accreditation and regulatory requirements, and he has guided hundreds of hospitals on the path to compliance.
Q: Reflecting on your ten years at C&A, what have been your highlights?
MP: When I started to work for Judy ten years ago, I told her this would be the place where I retire. In my professional and personal lives, I am always thinking about how I can give back. I have been a teacher throughout my career and what I do now is no different. I am teaching organizations how to succeed in providing the safest care to their patients and to meet the accreditation and regulatory standards.
Since the 1990’s we have learned much about safety and harm, yet we still wrestle with these issues. We are still not where we need to be. As I think about the need that exists, I moved away from my former position in the hospital context to doing what I do now where I can impact quality in so many more healthcare settings.
Q: What do you think are the most critical things to think about based on your bird’s eye view of healthcare organizations?
MP: The first thing is Leadership. Safety must be the top priority for all CEOs. There is still a lack of understanding related to how vital environmental infrastructure is to patient safety. Leaders must keep patient safety at the top of their agenda and engage all staff in the drive to high reliability.
As consultants, we see all the sides of a situation. We must continue to work with leaders to see those differences and develop plans of action to improve safety and patient outcomes.
Q: What are the biggest advances you see and what challenges do organizations still face?
MP: There has been so many advances in technology – from electronic medical records that help ensure coordination of care to advanced imaging technology on the clinical side to aid in complex diagnoses.
But, we haven’t kept up as well with safety in the physical environment. So many of our nation’s hospital buildings are very old and hospitals can’t necessarily afford to build new complexes so they are faced with asking themselves “What can they afford?” “What has failed?” They make fixes as the needs arise. I see it all the time where facilities’ staff struggle with how best to make their case. The best cases are when the CFO or COO round with the staff, get on the ladder, and see first-hand what the issues are.
I see that we are making strides and the gap is starting to close, but there is more work to be done. So many of The Joint Commission’s Top 10 findings are in the physical environment. TJC and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) realize that the physical environment remains a challenge and so they created a portal which provides information on how to mitigate top findings and improve the built environment.
Q: What is your role in driving change?
MP: I help teams to break down barriers, to help them build new understanding together. I strive to educate people and position them to be successful. I bring my practical experience – my clinical background, my experience as a patient myself, my perspective of what I see every day, to my clients. I never stop learning and I tell them the same. You never stop learning. We all need to continue to seek and learn from new ideas.
The bottom line in my approach is to take what I learn from each organization and think about how to share that information, paying it forward from organization to organization, so that everyone has the benefit of sharing the learning.
I have learned so much in my ten years at C&A, and I look forward to continuing the journey to improve healthcare for all.
Congratulations to Marty Piepoli on ten years as a C&A Consultant, and a special thanks for sharing his reflections with us.
To learn more about Marty Piepoli click here to view his bio on our team page.