Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF August 10, 2018 | Archived Issues

New Tool for Clinicians to Aid Patient Experience

Cedars-Sinai is launching a new online, collaborative platform that will give clinicians access to a variety of tools to enhance and support the patient experience.

» Read more

Campaign for Cedars-Sinai Tops Fundraising Goal

The most ambitious fundraising effort in Cedars-Sinai history finished June 30, surpassing its $600 million target by more than $15 million, thanks to the help of 70,000 donors. Launched in July 2010, the Campaign for Cedars-Sinai called upon grateful patients, families, friends and staff members to support breakthroughs in patient care by making contributions to help fund innovative research, high-quality patient care programs and medical education.

» Read more

Cedars-Sinai Ranked as No.1 Workplace

Cedars-Sinai has been rated California's top hospital for staff, and one of the top 10 in the country, based on ratings and reviews on the job search website Indeed.

» Read more

OR360 Escape Room Fosters Teamwork and Fun

The new OR360 Escape Room is an interactive puzzle-solving experience within an immersive laboratory environment that investigates the factors influencing a team's performance in healthcare, such as team composition, communication, leadership and emotional intelligence. The escape room is now open to teams of three to eight participants.

» Read more

Project Will Help Visitors Find Their Way

Cedars-Sinai is kicking off a multipronged "wayfinding" project in early August. Wayfinding refers to information systems—such as signs, maps and symbols—that help people navigate complex environments. Topping the wayfinding to-do list is transforming the medical center's Plaza Level walkways that connect most buildings and campus amenities into what will now be called the Plaza Pathway.

» Read more

College of Surgeons Honors Cancer Institute

The American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer recently presented an Outstanding Achievement Award to the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. The institute is one of just 16 accredited cancer programs in the U.S.—and the only one in California—to earn the distinction.

» Read more

Enter Drawing for Dodgers Tickets

Staff members are invited to enter a drawing for tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers game on Friday, Aug. 24. The Healthcare Appreciation Night game begins at 7:10 p.m. and is against the San Diego Padres. Cedars-Sinai is the official medical center of the Dodgers. To be eligible, complete the entry form.

» Read more

Fitness Trackers Help Monitor Cancer Patients

Fitness trackers can be valuable tools for assessing the quality of life and daily functioning of cancer patients during treatment, a new study has found. The trackers, also known as wearable activity monitors, include commercial devices worn on the wrist that log a wearer's step counts, stairs climbed, calories, heart rate and sleep.

» Read more

Annual Sand N’ Snore Set for Sept. 7

Sand N' Snore is just around the corner. The dinner, sleepover and breakfast are slated to begin Friday, Sept. 7, at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica. To reserve a place, contact Cheryl Verne at 310-423-2681 or cheryl.verne@cshs.org.

» Read more

Howard Sandler, MD, Elected to ASTRO Board

The American Society for Radiation Oncology recently elected Howard Sandler, MD, and three other top radiation oncologists as new officers of the organization’s Board of Directors. Sandler, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Ronald H. Bloom Family Chair in Cancer Therapeutics at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, will serve on the medical society’s Nominating Committee.

» Read more

Eugene Harris, MD: 1932-2018

Eugene Harris, MD, passed away on August 3, at age 86. Harris was an active member of the medical staff as an attending in the Department of Orthopaedics since June 1961. His contributions and service to the medical center and to the community will be greatly missed.

» Read more

Are You a Veteran? Let Us Know

Were you in the military, or do you know a co-worker who was? For Veterans Day, The Bridge wants to honor Cedars-Sinai's military veterans. Please email thebridge@cshs.org to let us know when and in which branch you served, and any notable details about your service. Also, please include your current position at Cedars-Sinai.

» Read more

CS-Link Tip: System Updated This Week

CS-Link™ was updated earlier this week to make it easier to access information and navigate records. Many of the updates came from staff suggestions. Read more to learn about the updates.

» Read more

New Tool for Clinicians to Aid Patient Experience

Cedars-Sinai is launching a new online, collaborative platform that will give clinicians access to a variety of tools to enhance and support the patient experience.

The Clinician Experience Project is an online community made up of more than 65 healthcare organizations sharing more than 600 skill-building videos, designed by clinicians. These short video clips provide tips, practical tools and best practice ideas on challenges clinicians often face in patient care.

In addition to the available tools, the Clinician Experience Project also will allow clinicians to have discussions and exchange ideas with colleagues locally and across the country. It is part of a larger Practicing Excellence initiative, an ongoing effort to provide enhanced tools to clinicians in support of improving the patient experience.

"This project is really about learning new skills, collaborating with others and building a community focused on what matters most: our patients," said Alan Dubovsky, chief patient experience officer.

The videos cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Communication with patients and families
  • Mindfulness
  • Patient flow and clinic flow
  • Dealing with difficult patients and families
  • Dealing with patients who present with misdiagnoses from other institutions
  • Running daily huddles
  • Physician leadership development
  • Opioid management/treatment
  • Handling unnecessary test requests from patients

For now, the tool is available to physicians in the following clinical areas: neurosurgery, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopaedics, spine, heart, the Emergency Department and primary care practices in the Medical Network. Plans to expand the program to clinicians across the institution are in the works now.

For more information, contact Joseph Anda at joseph.anda@cshs.org.

Campaign for Cedars-Sinai Tops Fundraising Goal

The most ambitious fundraising effort in Cedars-Sinai history finished June 30, surpassing its $600 million target by more than $15 million, thanks to the help of 70,000 donors.

Launched in July 2010, the Campaign for Cedars-Sinai called upon grateful patients, families, friends and staff members to support breakthroughs in patient care by making contributions to help fund innovative research, high-quality patient care programs and medical education.

Approximately 75 percent of Cedars-Sinai donors are grateful patients.

"For such an ambitious campaign to exceed its goal is a reminder that our collective commitment to providing world-class care is both recognized and valued," said Art Ochoa, senior vice president of Community Relations and Development and chief development officer. "We want to thank our staff for going to exceptional lengths to care for patients and their families. That commitment has inspired patients to give back."

The funds raised by the Campaign for Cedars-Sinai will continue to support interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation within the key areas of:

  • Disease prevention and control
  • Precision medicine and targeted therapies
  • Aging and longevity
  • Innovations in healthcare and technology
  • Education and training

"This campaign’s success will translate into real, lifesaving treatments," said Shlomo Melmed, MD, executive vice president of Academic Affairs and dean of the Medical Faculty. "These generous contributions ensure that the valuable work required to advance discoveries leading to the highest quality healthcare delivery at Cedars-Sinai can continue for years to come."

While the campaign has ended, employees wishing to support Cedars-Sinai research and initiatives can continue to do so through the Employee Giving program. For more information, visit the Employee Giving program website.

Cedars-Sinai Ranked as No.1 Workplace

Cedars-Sinai has been rated California's top hospital for staff, and one of the top 10 in the country, based on ratings and reviews on the job search website Indeed.

Indeed's data analytics team looked at more than 72 million staff ratings and reviews to create the site's 2018 Best Hospitals list, with Cedars-Sinai being ranked sixth in the country.

"This recognition is an honor and a reminder that the organization's effort to foster a supportive and engaging work environment makes a real difference to our staff," said Andy Ortiz, senior vice president of Human Resources and Organization Development. "The provision of world-class healthcare begins with a world-class workplace, and the entire staff has been instrumental in creating that."

To be eligible for placement on the list, hospitals had to be reviewed at least 100 times on their Indeed company pages from 2016-2018 while achieving high overall satisfaction scores.

Cedars-Sinai has been reviewed more than 650 times in total, with high scores across the categories of work/life balance, compensation/benefits, job security/advancement, management and culture.

The Indeed ranking follows several workplace accolades recently awarded to Cedars-Sinai, including the organization's fourth consecutive Advisory Board Workplace of the Year award and its 10th consecutive ranking on Computerworld's annual list of 100 best places to work in IT.

Know someone who would make a great addition to Cedars-Sinai? You could earn a bonus if someone you refer is hired into a hard-to-fill position.

OR360 Escape Room Fosters Teamwork and Fun

Employees (from left) Josh Page, Shaden Daas, Brittany Bancroft and Ray Robles race against the clock to solve a puzzle in the OR360 Escape Room.

"The virus has escaped," said a voice over the loudspeaker. "You have all been exposed."

Trapped in a laboratory, four employees begin to search drawers, medical equipment and vials. Large screens around the room display an ominous countdown: The team has less than 30 minutes to find a cure to save themselves—and the world.

This was the scene that unfolded during the first attempt to solve the new OR360 Escape Room, an interactive puzzle-solving experience located in the Cedars-Sinai OR360 facility on San Vicente Boulevard.

OR360, which serves as an innovative research space and simulation laboratory, converted two of its rooms to create the new experience: one for the escape room and one for the control room, in which participant progress is monitored on two television screens. The project is part of the OR360 research team's ongoing investigation into factors impacting team performance in healthcare, such as team composition, communication, leadership and emotional intelligence.

"I thought it was great!" said Brittany Bancroft, a program development coordinator and the only member of her team who had previously attempted one of the popular adventure games. "It was so well thought out."

Research interns and OR360 Escape Room creators (from left) Audrey Nguyen, Siddharth Karthikeyan, Anusha Koka and Vinisha Prajapati.

The escape room, now open to teams of three to eight participants, is an immersive laboratory environment. The special effects and props—many of which were donated by the Cedars-Sinai Medical Library—transport participants into another world once inside. To solve it and "escape," teams must piece together clues and solve all the puzzles found within the room.

But its creators say there is more to the OR360 Escape Room than pure escapism.

"We’ve realized through our research and our day-to-day experience how important teamwork and relationships are," said Bruce Gewertz, MD, chair of the Department of Surgery and executive director of OR360. "We’re always looking for innovative ways to teach that lesson to people, in ways that are not offensive or tedious—and this is a lot of fun."

Prior to entering the room, the team took part in a 15-minute briefing that demonstrated the teamwork skills required to escape. A debriefing afterward identified which of these skills the team performed well, as well as opportunities for improvement.

"Any person in any group can participate," said Tara Cohen, PhD, research scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery. "Participants can take what they learned in the escape room and apply it to other real-life situations."

Cohen oversaw the creation of the room alongside colleague Sarah Francis, a project manager for Perioperative Services. Cohen explained the medical setting was only thematic, and that the room's creators—four summer research interns—designed the puzzles to be accessible to everyone.

"We were so glad to have the research interns," said Francis. "They were able to allocate and dedicate this time to building such an incredible experience. Now, we can share it with the institution."

The four research interns—Siddharth Karthikeyan, Anusha Koka, Audrey Nguyen and Vinisha Prajapati—undertook the project as part of the Cedars-Sinai Research Internship Program. The program aims to develop skills such as idea generation, critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork.

Having no prior experience with escape rooms when they began, the research interns said they completed two local escape rooms as research.

"We tried to see the concepts that they were testing: How do they organize everything? How does it go from step to step?" said research intern Anusha Koka, a pre-medical student at Penn State University. "We made a flowchart of every single step you’d have to go through. From the briefing to putting on the costumes to the sound effects."

The resulting experience is unique—and challenging. For Brittany Bancroft and her OR360 teammates, the room proved a powerful adversary, a final rally in the last few seconds not enough to spare them from the virus.

For now, the room remains undefeated.

Employees interested in attempting the escape room can register teams of three to eight people by contacting OR360@cshs.org.

Project Will Help Visitors Find Their Way

The green line represents the medical center's Plaza Level walkways, which will now be called the Plaza Pathway. The Plaza Pathway is the most efficient, visitor-friendly way of reaching the majority of campus destinations.

The Cedars-Sinai campus is city-like in many ways—towering buildings, multiple parking structures, crisscrossing streets dotted with cars and buses. The campus shares another city characteristic: Visitors often can be identified by the "I'm lost" look in their eyes.

"From the moment patients arrive on campus, we want their experience to be positive," said Mark Gavens, executive vice president of Hospital Operations and chief operating officer. "Every aspect of our patients' experience can impact their health, and that includes any difficulties our campus presents. We want Cedars-Sinai's physical environment to be as highly regarded as our medical care."

To help achieve that goal, Cedars-Sinai is kicking off a multipronged "wayfinding" project. Wayfinding refers to information systems—such as signs, maps and symbols—that help people navigate complex environments.

The Plaza Pathway

Pedestrian-orientation kiosks featuring a "you are here" map
highlighting the Plaza Pathway, major destinations and campus
amenities will be located at several points along the pathway.

Topping the wayfinding to-do list is transforming the medical center's Plaza Level walkways that connect most buildings and campus amenities (eateries, gift shop, conference rooms) into what will now be called the Plaza Pathway.

The Plaza Pathway is the most efficient and visitor-friendly way of reaching the majority of campus destinations. Making patients and other visitors aware of this preferred pedestrian route key, so a variety of wayfinding tools are being installed throughout the Plaza Pathway, including:

  • Vertical markers, topped by a symbol for walking, will define the pathway.
  • Plaza Pathway markers also will direct people to building entrances.
  • Pedestrian-orientation kiosks featuring a "You Are Here" map highlighting the Plaza Pathway, major destinations and campus amenities will be located at several points along the pathway. Kiosks and markers will be illuminated for nighttime visibility.

Simplified Building Names

Many Cedars-Sinai buildings have long, potentially confusing names. That's why simplified names will be used on Plaza Pathway signage.

  • Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion becomes Pavilion
  • North Tower, Pro Tower, South Tower become North Tower, South Tower
  • Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute becomes Oschin Cancer Center
  • Saperstein Critical Care Tower becomes Saperstein
  • Steven Spielberg Building becomes Spielberg
  • S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center becomes Taper
  • Thalians Health Center becomes Thalians
  • East Medical Office Tower becomes Medical Offices East
  • West Medical Office Tower becomes Medical Offices West

A badge buddy is being developed to help employees remember these simplified building names.

New Ways to Give Directions

Fifty employees, primarily representing patient-facing departments, recently were given a wayfinding project overview and guidance to help visitors more easily navigate the Cedars-Sinai campus. These "wayfinding champions" will be sharing with co-workers new ways to give directions, including:

  • Whenever possible, direct people to reach their destinations by using the Plaza Pathway
  • When giving directions, use the new, simplified building names
  • Tell visitors to look for the new wayfinding signs along the Plaza Pathway

Pedestrian-orientation kiosks and vertical markers will be illuminated for nighttime visibility.

The Plaza Pathway and new signage should be incorporated when providing directions; this should make both giving and understanding directions easier. For example, here's how directions should be given for walking from the P4 parking structure's Green Zone to Harvey Morse Auditorium:

  1. Take the green elevators to the Plaza Level
  2. Follow the Plaza Pathway to the South Plaza
  3. Once inside, follow the signs to Harvey Morse Auditorium

"For this initiative to have maximum impact, employees enterprise-wide need to be wayfinding champions," said Rick B. Jacobs, executive vice president and chief strategy officer. "Everyone should become familiar with pathway signage and make a conscious effort to direct visitors to the Plaza Pathway. Small steps like this will contribute to visitors having a positive experience."

Looking Ahead

Other components of the Cedars-Sinai wayfinding project will be rolled out in the coming and months, including:

  • Digital wayfinding tools for the Cedars-Sinai mobile app
  • Trip-planning tools for the Cedars-Sinai website
  • New exterior signage for drivers and pedestrians
  • New interior signage campus-wide

Check future issues of The Bridge for and the intranet wayfinding project updates.

College of Surgeons Honors Cancer Institute

The American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer recently presented an Outstanding Achievement Award to the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute.

The institute is one of just 16 accredited cancer programs in the U.S.—and the only one in California—to earn the distinction. Only seven percent of programs surveyed by the commission receive the award.

"This award demonstrates the continuing efforts by Cedars-Sinai to offer cancer patients the best multidisciplinary care," said Robert A. Figlin, MD, deputy director of the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. "That care addresses the patient and their family and relies on the strongest science-based evidence to support the best possible health outcomes."

The commission evaluated the institute on 34 program standards, including data management, clinical services and quality improvement, during two survey visits conducted during the second half of 2017, said Figlin, who also serves as the director of the cancer institute's Division of Hematology/Oncology.

The purpose of the award is to improve the quality of cancer care and increase awareness about quality care choices for cancer patients and their families, said Lawrence N. Shulman, MD, chair of the commission.

"More and more, we're finding that patients and their families want to know how the healthcare institutions in their communities compare with one another," Shulman said. "These cancer programs currently represent the best of the best when it comes to cancer care." 

The award reflects the dedication of Cedars-Sinai caregivers, said Zuri Murrell, MD, director of the Colorectal Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai.

"Cedars-Sinai physicians and nurses take pride in the great care we provide cancer patients, but it's deeply gratifying when an outside organization as well-respected as the Commission on Cancer honors us with this top award," Murrell said. "Working with the great team members that contributed to this effort has been one of the greatest joys of my professional life."

Enter Drawing for Dodgers Tickets

Dodgers-LA-Cap-Logo-140px
Staff members are invited to enter a drawing for tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers game on Friday, Aug. 24. The Healthcare Appreciation Night game begins at 7:10 p.m. and is against the San Diego Padres.

As the official medical center of the Dodgers and in honor of Healthcare Appreciation Night, a Cedars-Sinai representative will throw out one of the ceremonial first pitches.

To be eligible, complete the entry form. (One entry per staff member. Winners will be notified by email or phone.)

Fitness Trackers Help Monitor Cancer Patients

Fitness trackers can be valuable tools for assessing the quality of life and daily functioning of cancer patients during treatment, a new study has found. The trackers, also known as wearable activity monitors, include commercial devices worn on the wrist that log a wearer's step counts, stairs climbed, calories, heart rate and sleep.

"One of the challenges in treating patients with advanced cancer is obtaining ongoing, timely, objective data about their physical status during therapy," said Andrew Hendifar, MD, medical director for pancreatic cancer at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. "After all, patients typically spend most of their time at home or work, not in a clinic, and their health statuses change day to day."

Hendifar was the principal investigator and Gillian Gresham, PhD, postdoctoral scientist at the cancer institute, was the first author for the study, which was published online in the journal npj Digital Medicine.

The study focused on 37 patients undergoing treatment for advanced cancer at Cedars-Sinai. They wore wrist-mounted fitness trackers throughout the study, except when showering or swimming. Sets of activity data were collected for three consecutive visits during treatment. After the final clinical visit, patients were followed for six months to gather additional clinical and survival outcomes.

Investigators then compared data from the trackers with patients' assessments of their own symptoms, including pain, fatigue and sleep quality, as collected from a National Institutes of Health questionnaire. These data sets also were compared with two common scales used to gauge physical status and overall health: the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group Performance Status (ECOG) and Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) scales.

Results suggested that objective data collected from wearable activity monitors can supplement and enhance current assessments of health status and physical function, which are limited by their subjectivity and potential for bias, Gresham said. In the study, increased daily step and stair activity correlated with more positive ratings of a patient's condition on the provider surveys and lower rates of adverse events and hospitalization.

As a next step, investigators plan to study long-term use of the monitors in a larger, more diverse group of advanced cancer patients and correlate that data with clinical and self-reported outcomes.

Funding: Investigators received support from the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. Gresham received doctoral thesis research funding from the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

DOI: 10.1038/s41746-018-0032-6

Annual Sand N’ Snore Set for Sept. 7

Campfires on the beach are part of the annual Sand 'N' Snore.

Sand N' Snore is just around the corner.

The dinner, sleepover and breakfast are slated to begin Friday, Sept. 7, at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica. (The club has restrooms and hot showers.) Those who don't want to sleep on the sand are welcome to enjoy dinner and the evening with colleagues and their families. Food and entertainment are provided, but physicians must bring their own tent and equipment.

Tickets for the whole event are $65 per adult and $45 for each child age 3-11. Tickets for Friday's dinner only are $50 per adult and $25 for each child 3-11.

To reserve a place, contact Cheryl Verne at 310-423-2681 or cheryl.verne@cshs.org.

Howard Sandler, MD, Elected to ASTRO Board

Howard Sandler, MD

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) recently elected Howard Sandler, MD, and three other top radiation oncologists as new officers of the organization’s Board of Directors.

Sandler, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Ronald H. Bloom Family Chair in Cancer Therapeutics at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, will serve on the medical society’s Nominating Committee. The new members’ terms begin in October, timed to ASTRO’s 60th Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

"I’m very pleased to join the ASTRO Board of Directors," Sandler said. "Radiation oncology is a tightly knit community of specialists, and it’s an honor to represent my peers."

ASTRO is the world’s largest radiation oncology society, with more than 10,000 members—physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists and other healthcare professionals—who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. It is, Sandler said, "the voice of radiation oncology that helps set the scientific, education and public-policy priorities of our specialty."

Eugene Harris, MD: 1932-2018

Eugene Harris, MD

Eugene Harris, MD, passed away on August 3, at age 86. Harris was an active member of the medical staff as an attending in the Department of Orthopaedics since June 1961 until becoming emeritus in 2018.

His contributions and service to the medical center and to the community will be greatly missed.

Please consider donations to one of his favorite charities below:

  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Simon Wiesenthal Center
  • American Friends of Magen David Adom

For more about Harris, see his Los Angeles Times obituary.

Are You a Veteran? Let Us Know

Were you in the military, or do you know a co-worker who was? For Veterans Day, The Bridge wants to honor Cedars-Sinai's military veterans. Please email thebridge@cshs.org to let us know when and in which branch you served, and any notable details about your service. Also, please include your current position at Cedars-Sinai.

CS-Link Tip: System Updated This Week

CS-Link™ was updated earlier this week to make it easier to access information and navigate records. Many of the updates came from staff suggestions.

Here are links to learn more about the changes:

If you have questions, contact groupeisphysicians@cshs.org.