Erasmus MC has started a movement of people concerned about the future. Professionals including healthcare employees, scientists and medical students can join to help change healthcare. The movement was started this week during the two-day conference ‘Stories from Erasmus MC’ in De Doelen Conference Center. More than 700 people were present to openheartedly share with each other areas where there is room for improvement and how things can be improved. “They were emotional, inspiring and occasionally shocking stories that clearly show where there is room for improvement”, says Hans Büller, chairman of Erasmus MC Board of Directors.
Erasmus MC, the largest university medical center in the Netherlands, decided to follow a new course four years ago. The way in which things were organized in the UMC no longer worked. The departments were separate entities and operated as such. “In today’s society everything should revolve around the patient”, says Büller. The new course involved a culture change, a change that Erasmus MC is still in the middle of. The 60 departments have been clustered into 9 themes, driven by patient care. “This means that the previous departments have to work closely together. Managers will also no longer make and impose plans from above, but encourage people on the work floor to implement changes themselves. This will not be easy to achieve.”
During the conference all participants could openly share their thoughts on how they had experienced the changes to date. Erasmus MC employees and healthcare professionals from other institutions, for example, were given the opportunity to share what goes wrong and how this can be improved. “The things we experience certainly do not only apply to Erasmus MC, but also occur at other institutions”, says Theo Lankamp, director of the new course. He feels the stories shared by people are occasionally shocking but also promising.” A nurse, for example, submitted an idea that would improve patient care and at the same time make the work for nurses more pleasant. It was immediately crushed. But on discussions with the professor and after fighting for her idea, understanding ensued between them and a change in working methods at the department was achieved. ‘Shocking that it had to take years but promising that it was achieved by people opening up to each other.”
Some of the stories at the conference have been recorded in the book ‘Verhalen uit het Erasmus MC’ (Stories from Erasmus MC), that was published today. Patients, professionals, external relations including referrers and health insurers were invited to share their experiences at and with Erasmus MC in the book. This included their struggles, things that could be improved, what should not happen again and what the future could hold. Büller: “It is a great book. People were very open and showed their vulnerable side. This is what is necessary for real change.”
The progress of the movement can be followed at www.andriesq.nl, a communications platform. Healthcare professionals debate on persistent issues in healthcare and suggest creative solutions for improvements. This is carried out under the guidance of an editorial team.