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Engaging and Educating Patients While They Wait

The Pulmonary Department waiting room where a new TV monitor has been installed in partnership with AccentHealth, a healthcare media company that provides healthy living video programming. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

The Pulmonary Department waiting room where a new TV monitor has been installed in partnership with AccentHealth, a healthcare media company that provides healthy living video programming. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

If you have ever spent time in your doctor’s waiting room, you may have read some well-worn magazines or watched reality TV to pass the time. This is no longer the case at UConn Health.

Recently, new TV monitors were installed in many of the waiting rooms in the Outpatient Pavilion and the Cardiology, Pulmonary and Nephrology waiting rooms in the main building. In partnership with AccentHealth, a healthcare media company that provides a patient engagement solution for physician waiting and exam rooms, UConn Health patients are being educated and empowered to live healthy lives by receiving credible health information.

“The patients in our waiting rooms are watching a television network that provides exclusive programming produced by CNN and co-hosted by CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and HLN Morning News Anchor Robin Meade. AccentHealth also delivers specialty networks that are produced in partnership with the American Cancer Society, Harvard Medical School, and the American Heart Association,” says Vice President of Ambulatory Services Anne Horbatuck. Segments include health news, living well, fitness, nutrition, medical breakthroughs, safety tips, and healthy recipes. In addition to the network programming, patients also view UConn Health produced videos and messaging.

“Patients used to sit down and either check their phones or read a magazine. Now they spend their time in the waiting room learning about health-related topics or getting wellness tips,” says practice manager Kelly Clarke. “The patient feedback has been so positive that we have increased the time the programming is available in our waiting room,” adds Clarke.

Bye-bye, Building 20

Building 20, constructed in 1990 for extra office space at UConn Health, in the process of being demolished. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

Building 20, constructed in 1990 for extra office space at UConn Health, in the process of being demolished. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

There are probably not too many of us mourning the demise of Building 20 – the small wood frame structure that was connected to the back of the main building where the police department is located. While it was drafty and dreary and had no running water (which meant no bathrooms!), it did serve a vital need for office space when it was first constructed in 1990.

Occupancy varied over the ensuing years, but typically served as academic and research-related support space. According to Thomas Trutter, AVP of campus planning, design and construction, “By removing this older, less than desirable structure, we are reducing long-term maintenance costs and the newly renovated space in the main building provides much more energy efficient and better configured office space.”

A pile of rubble is all that is left of Building 20 which housed research and academic office space for more than 25 years. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

A pile of rubble is all that is left of Building 20 which housed research and academic office space for more than 25 years. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

New Chief Counsel for Health

Brian White has been named Chief Counsel at UConn Health.

Brian White has been named Chief Counsel at UConn Health.

In January, Brian White will join UConn as chief counsel at UConn Health. In this role he will report to both Richard Orr, vice president and general counsel for the University of Connecticut, and Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of UConn Health.

Currently Brian is associate general counsel for University of Wisconsin Health, a system with six hospitals and over 2,600 faculty physicians. Prior to UW Health, he was in-house counsel for University of Iowa Healthcare for nine years. He began his legal career with a private practice in Chicago after receiving both his JD and BA degrees from the University of Iowa where he continues to serve as adjunct faculty.

“The addition of Brian to the UConn Health leadership team comes at an important time for our organization,” says Dr. Agwunobi. “His experience in academic systems with transactions and physician relationships puts us in a stronger position to be an active part of a changing healthcare landscape across Connecticut.”

“Brian is an important addition to the legal team at UConn.  He represents another example of increased collaboration between UConn Health and the rest of the University,” says Orr. “ By enhancing  our in-house legal capacity we can reduce our dependence on outside law firms and improve service to internal clients at all of our campuses.”

“Joining an organization with the national reputation of UConn, at a time when they are so poised for success, is an opportunity I could not pass on,” says White. “I look forward to working with the exceptional team already established at UConn Health and furthering the tradition and vision of the academic medical system.”

Brian will be joined in Connecticut by his wife, Alicia, and their four children.

Holiday Celebrations at UConn Health

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Decorations celebrating the holidays adorn the Farmington campus. Photos by Janine Gelineau.

Successful Surge Drill for ED

  • UConn Health employees participate in a surge drill in the emergency department at UConn John Dempsey Hospital Nov. 29, 2016.
UConn John Dempsey Hospital successfully conducted a realistic drill assessing its emergency preparedness and communications in the case of an external disaster, a Code Yellow, on Nov. 29. The 9 a.m. drill’s mock scenario tested the hospital’s response to a surge of 18 patients arriving to its Emergency Department after a multiple trauma bus accident occurred on I-84. The hospital’s emergency response was immediate with swift communication and activation of the Hospital Incident Command Center led by Nursing Director, Caryl Ryan. As Incident Commander, Ryan directed the team’s real-time response and communications of all personnel, hospital units, phone, and Everbridge System alerts via phone messages, emails and text alerts. UConn Health thanks the ED, Command Center, Fire Department and EMS, doctors, nurses and staff, including employees who played injured patients, for their drill participation and quick responsive actions in the role-play to help uncover any improvements necessary to put in place for a future, real-life situation.

Lakeesha Brown: 2016 Dr. Deckers Award Honoree

  • The Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award finalists from left, Lakeesha Brown, Elizabeth Cwalinski, Ursula Knight, and Carol Schramm. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)
It’s among the highest honors a UConn Health employee can receive – the Dr. Peter J. Deckers Employee Appreciation Award. Who qualifies as a Deckers Award nominee? An employee who consistently demonstrates passion and commitment, strong leadership, exemplary professional skills, and goes above and beyond to help meet the goals of UConn Health. The award was first presented in 2009 and is named after Dr. Peter Deckers, retired executive vice president for health affairs and dean emeritus of the UConn School of Medicine.

This year’s honoree is Lakeesha Brown, principal labor relations specialist in the Department of Human Resources. Christine Cieplinski, director of labor relations, nominated Lakeesha saying “she sees every work day as an opportunity to positively invest employees in the mission and vision of UConn Health.” Hear what else Christine said about Lakeesha.

The three other finalists for the Deckers Award were:

Elizabeth Cwalinski, Housekeeping Supervisor (Nominated by Cliff Ashton, AVP Facilities Management and Operations)

Ursula Knight, CMHC Nursing Supervisor (Nominated by Connie Weiskopf, Director of Nursing and Patient Care Services, CMHC)

Carol Schramm, Registered Nurse (Nominated by Dr. Thomas Yasuda, Medical Director, Operating Room)

The Deckers Awards and the annual celebration of employee years of service were held Nov. 21 in the Academic Rotunda during a high-energy ceremony emceed by Alexis Crean, organization and staff development specialist in the Department of Human Resources.

Time to Get a Flu Shot (Or Report That You’re Not)

UConn nursing student Emilie Kasper (left) administers a flu shot at an Employee Health Services flu clinic at the UConn School of Medicine. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

UConn nursing student Emilie Kasper (left) administers a flu shot at an Employee Health Services flu clinic at the UConn School of Medicine. (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

Employee Health Services is holding a series of flu clinics over the next several weeks, at which free flu shots will be available to staff, students, residents, volunteers and vendors.

While some clinical institutions require all employees be vaccinated against influenza every year, UConn Health does not. But UConn Health is required to report the flu vaccine status of its employees to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Those who attend an Employee Health flu clinic can receive a flu shot, report that they are declining it altogether, or report that they either have received or will receive it somewhere else.

Once recorded in a password-protected database, the information is reported in aggregate to CMS. It remains confidential. An employee’s flu vaccine status is protected health information and cannot be used against him or her.

Click image to view/download UConn Health Influenza Program brochure.

Click image to view/download UConn Health Influenza Program brochure.

“Your cooperation goes a long way in helping us be in compliance,” says Cheryl Marenick, the nurse who oversees the Employee Health flu vaccine program. “Even if you don’t get a flu shot, we need you to report that to us. If you choose to get a flu shot, even better—we’re happy to do that for you. It’s the best way to protect yourself, your family, and our patients from influenza.”

Employee Health has scheduled several walk-in flu clinics, with reminders and updates to come in Lifeline and The Pulse:

  • Monday, Oct. 24, 12:30 to 4 p.m., Onyiuke Dining Room
  • Thursday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Onyiuke Dining Room
  • Thursday, Nov. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Munson Training Room
  • Monday, Nov. 14, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., ARB Large Conference Room
  • Monday, Nov. 21, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Outpatient Pavilion 7th floor large conference room

A UConn Health ID badge or employee number is required.

Individual flu shot appointments also can be made by calling Employee Health Services at x2893. Those who get the flu shot elsewhere or decline it altogether can report by email to Louisa Pickett.

 

Volunteers Guide Patients, Visitors Through Lobby Renovation

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You walk through a door that you’ve entered many times… only to be greeted by a giant wall instead of the lobby that had been the familiar path to your appointment.

For many patients and visitors, that’s what it’s been like these past few weeks since UConn Health’s main lobby closed for renovations. While they are greeted by the wall, fortunately for them they also are greeted by some helpful folks in blue jackets – UConn Health volunteers, at the ready to help people where they need to go.

“They’re shocked, they don’t even know if they’re in the right place or not, because it looks completely different than what they’re used to,” says volunteer George Ziewacz, who’s been volunteering in the main lobby area for more than eight years. “We have a diagram on our wall and we show them how to get to wherever they want to get.”

With the lobby closed, patients and visitors using the main entrance must take a detour to get to the elevators that bring them to the Connecticut Tower hospital floors, the Calhoun Cardiology Center on the second floor, and even the gift shop, which is accessible only from the hallway that runs along the Center Courtyard window. Some of the dental clinics have moved to the main floor, while others remain on the first floor and are still accessible via the elevator near the main entrance.

“Most people are understanding. Only very rarely does someone get real upset,” says Ziewacz, who volunteers eight hours a day, four days a week. “Some of them want to give me tips, but I tell them I’m not allowed to accept tips.”

When patients and visitors know where they’re going but don’t know how to get there, the volunteers will help them find their destination on a map, direct them on how to get there, and in some cases escort them some or all of the way as needed. When patients don’t know where their appointment is, the volunteers can retrieve the information by calling the information desk in the University Tower lobby.

“George and his knowledge of all areas along with his wayfinding skills have been instrumental in helping everyone navigate through the Main Lobby construction detour,” says Lisa Bartis, volunteer administration program coordinator. “The entire Volunteer Department has stepped up to help with wayfinding for all of our patients, families and visitors at both entrances.”

While wayfinding has been a major task for volunteers, they also assist with discharges, wheelchairs, mail and gift delivery, office work, the gift and thrift shops, new admission binders, and periodic checks of patient safety equipment and accessories such as lifts, slings and belts.

UConn Health has 280 registered volunteers, 90 of whom are returning to high school or college for the fall. More information about becoming a UConn Health volunteer is available at health.uconn.edu/donors-and-volunteers.

New Tower, New Shuttle Routes, New Valet

A shuttle bus in the shadow of the new UConn Health John Dempsey Hospital tower. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)

A shuttle bus in the shadow of the new UConn Health John Dempsey Hospital tower. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)

With the new hospital tower opening come some changes to the UConn Health shuttle system effective Monday, May 16:

Route 1 (Night Bus) will be relocated from the main building entrance to the new hospital tower entrance. This route will continue to serve patients, visitors, staff and students travelling between the new hospital tower entrance, Garage 1 Level 6, Musculoskeletal Institute/UConn Surgery Center, Outpatient Pavilion, Shuttle Lot 3, and the Cell and Genome Sciences Building. The service cycle time will remain the same, approximately every 15 minutes.

Route 2 will be relocated from the main building entrance to the new hospital tower entrance. This route will continue to serve patients, visitors, staff and students travelling between the new hospital tower entrance, Musculoskeletal Institute/UConn Surgery Center, Outpatient Pavilion, 195 Farmington Ave., 10 Talcott Notch, 230 Farmington Ave., the Exchange, and 21 South Rd. The service cycle time will remain the same, approximately every 30 minutes.

Route 3 will serve staff and students travelling between Munson Road, main building entrance, Musculoskeletal Institute/UConn Surgery Center, and the Outpatient Pavilion.

Route 4 will serve staff and students travelling between Cell and Genome Sciences Building, Shuttle Lot 3, the bus shelters on Main Road near Jackson Labs and the pond, and the main building entrance.

Route 5 will serve patients, visitors, staff and students traveling between the new hospital tower entrance, main building entrance, Garage 1-Level 6 shelter, Musculoskeletal Institute/UConn Surgery Center and the Outpatient Pavilion.

All the new maps and schedules are available at park.uchc.edu/shuttle-bus-service.

Parking Changes

The employee entrance from Garage 2 to the new hospital tower opens today. It is located on Level 3 of Garage 2, and is accessible by elevator.

For patients and visitors, valet parking will be available at the new hospital tower starting Monday, bringing the number of valet locations to three, with the following hours:

New Hospital Tower
Arrivals 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. / Departures 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Main Building Entrance
Arrivals 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. / Departures 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Outpatient Pavilion
Arrivals 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. / Departures 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

New Walkway to New Tower

An exterior walkway between Garage 1/lower campus and the new tower is now open. At the hospital end is a covered stairwell that leads to the front entrance of the new tower.

Questions and concerns should go parking.transportation@uchc.edu or 860-679-4248.

 

New Banners on Campus

  • Welcome to Possible

(Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Photos)