Where health care is more than a debate

Carrie Owen Plietz (’97) knows something that many executives never learn. She knows how to  implement change successfully — and happily.

Carrie Owen Plietz (’97) ©Paul Kitagaki Jr.

As the chief operating officer at Mills-Peninsula Health Services, a Sutter Health system affiliate, in Burlingame, Calif., Carrie has overseen the implementation of her company’s first acute care electronic health record system. She has instituted a successful patient affordability program that lowered cost, and she is leading the construction of a new $618 million hospital facility.  She did all of this while improving patient satisfaction.

According to an article by Bob Finkel in ModernHealth.com, “Patient satisfaction has bloomed even before the new facility opens, rising 40 percent …. Plietz attributes that partly to weekly ‘voice of the patient’ meetings in which departments compare notes on patient feedback to keep tabs and keep everyone on the same page. ‘It’s the one meeting that nobody misses, nobody cancels,’ she says. ‘It’s Monday, and if there’s a holiday, we move it to Tuesday…..She believes the rise in satisfaction came about because of ‘a renewed focus of the team that it’s not just a score — that it’s truly why we’re here, connecting back to the purpose of why people got into healthcare in the first place.'”

As a result of her success in a career where change is the watchword, Carrie was awarded the Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award, which named her the top 2010 Young Healthcare Executive of the Year. The 1997 JMU health sciences graduate earned the distinction through her skill in creating change that was accepted and lauded. The award was given by the American College of Healthcare Executives, an organization she first joined as a student at JMU.

And we’ve added her to our list of JMU people who are changing the world.

“JMU was where I first learned about and joined ACHE,” she told Madison magazine earlier this year. “The professors spoke and taught real life scenarios, which is extremely important in healthcare due to its rapid change.”

Carrie was listening and continues to listen. “I needed to do something that was more than sitting in an office and helping a corporation grown profits,” she says.  “We’re given a gift as hospital administrators to be involved in such an intimate time in people’s lives….It’s not an easy job, but you’re truly making a difference in the lives of people you touch every day.”

You can see Carrie’s Be the Change profile here: http://www.jmu.edu/bethechange/people/plietz.shtml

And you can read the full text of the article in ModernHealth.com here: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20100322/MAGAZINE/303229900

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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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