Cedars-Sinai

Medical Staff Pulse Newsletter

CS-Safe, Cedars-Sinai’s New Incident Reporting System, Goes Live Next Week

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, CS-Safe, will go live. The system is used for the documentation and follow-up of safety events and near misses, as well as good catches, that affect patients, staff and visitors.   

» Read more

Surgical Item Tracking System to Roll Out Jan. 27

Cedars-Sinai will soon start fitting operating rooms with a new tracking system that aims to eliminate retained soft good surgical items (RSI). The SurgiCount System will be used to track sponges—the most common RSI—by scanning and recording QR codes on each sponge before and after use during a procedure. Staff training for the new system will be held Jan. 22-24.

» Read more

3rd Floor Surgical Operations Moving

All 3rd floor operating rooms will soon transition to other locations, including the 7th and 8th floors of the main towers and the Pavilion's 4th floor. The move is part of a larger effort to improve surgical efficiencies and the overall patient experience.

» Read more

Joan August Named Vice President of Cedars-Sinai Cancer

Joan August, MS, has been appointed vice president for Cedars-Sinai Cancer. In this new role, August will have responsibility for the successful development, implementation and advancement of integrated strategic and programmatic cancer initiatives across the health system in collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Cancer Director Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD. August brings more than 30 years of professional healthcare experience to this new position. She is an accomplished leader known for developing and directing comprehensive business and clinical operations, assessing complex business problems, and finding innovative solutions and reaching consensus with diverse constituencies to achieve sustainable outcomes. 

» Read more

Open Houses for Health Delivery Science Program

The first of three open houses for students interested in the Master’s Degree in Health Delivery Science program will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium Monday, Jan. 13. Two more open houses will follow: March 6, from noon to 1 p.m., at the 6500 Wilshire Building in the San Vicente Conference Room; and March 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Pavilion, PEC 6 and 7. For more information, click here. The application deadline is May 1.

» Read more

Annual Wellbeing Fair Set for Friday, Jan. 10

The Cedars-Sinai Employee Wellness Program is hosting its eighth annual Employee Wellbeing Fair on Friday, Jan. 10, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium. Several Cedars-Sinai wellness and benefit partners will be on-site, including the Work and Life Matters team in partnership with Empathia Life Matters and Bright Horizons, as well as dozens of external vendors, to help employees learn about various aspects of health and wellbeing.

» Read more

International Program Aims to Expand Its Reach

The International Health and Telemedicine Program is seeking to expand its reach in several world regions. The growth of the program is propelled by Heitham Hassoun, MD, vice president and medical director of the program. To mark his one-year anniversary at Cedars-Sinai, Hassoun sat down with The Bridge to discuss global health challenges, the future of international medicine and what he loves most about his job.

» Read more

New Online Templates and Tools Available to Staff

To support consistency across Cedars-Sinai's communications, a range of updated digital templates are available for download on the intranet. Staff members are encouraged to bookmark the page for easy access to a range of templates, including flyers, letterhead, memos and PowerPoint presentations.

» Read more

FDA Warns About Serious Breathing Problems With Seizure and Nerve Pain Medications

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning that serious breathing difficulties may occur in patients using gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) or pregabalin (Lyrica, Lyrica CR) who have respiratory risk factors. These include the use of opioid pain medicines and other drugs that depress the central nervous system.

» Read more

Michael Harris Weiss, MD: 1943-2020

Michael Harris Weiss, MD, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai for more than three decades, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, Jan. 4. He died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, which forced his early retirement in 2003. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Race to Erase MS or any MS research foundation. 

» Read more

CS-Link Tip: New Storyboard Feature

Storyboard, a new feature recently introduced in CS-Link™, is designed to more efficiently tell the patient’s story. It will replace the Patient Header and will become the default option on Feb. 5. 

» Read more

CS-Safe, Cedars-Sinai’s New Incident Reporting System, Goes Live Next Week

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On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Cedars-Sinai’s new incident reporting system, CS-Safe, will go live. The system is used for the documentation and follow-up of safety events and near misses, as well as good catches, that affect patients, staff and visitors.

"All patient care providers have a responsibility to the entire Cedars-Sinai community to report safety events and concerns," said Marc A. Edelstein, MD, chief of staff. "CS-Safe will enhance our reporting culture to enable a better understanding of system and process improvement opportunities."

All medical staff have access to CS-Safe, and are encouraged to report safety concerns and events. CS-Safe provides an intuitive, easy-to-use platform, along with transparency and shared accountability. CS-Safe provides status updates, allowing physicians and staff to monitor entries and be informed of follow-up. The system also provides tracking and trending of events, and area-specific reports to operational, nursing and Medical Staff leadership.

CS-Safe will be accessible on Jan. 21 through CS-Link, through its icon on a clinical workstation or via the Cedars-Sinai intranet. Training tips for incident report entry will be available on Jan. 21 in HealthStream and consists of a short, six-minute video titled, “CS-Safe Incident Reporting Training.” 

Beginning Jan. 21, for questions, please email GroupCS_SafeHelp@cshs.org.

 

Surgical Item Tracking System to Roll Out Jan. 27

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A new tracking system will be implemented Jan. 27 to help eliminate retained surgical items.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 27, Cedars-Sinai will start fitting operating rooms with a new tracking system that aims to eliminate retained soft good surgical items (RSI).

The SurgiCount System will be used to track sponges—the most common RSI—by scanning and recording QR codes on each sponge before and after use during a procedure. Staff training for the new system will be held Jan. 22-24.

OR staff members may have already seen or used the new sponges—without the tracking system—as the sponges were recently introduced to some procedural areas as part of the conversion process.

Effective Jan. 27, all sponges must be replaced with QR-coded sponges. Staff members are asked to remove sponges without QR codes from circulation in procedural areas by handing them to their assistant nurse manager for recycling.

For more information, please contact elaine.suris@cshs.org.

3rd Floor Surgical Operations Moving

As part of a larger effort aimed at improving the patient experience and enhancing staff efficiencies, all 3rd floor operating rooms will transition to locations throughout the medical center, including the 7th and 8th floors of the main towers and the Pavilion's 4th floor.

"With each transition, our hope has been to improve efficiencies and create operating rooms that are consistently equipped to enhance surgeon, anesthesia, and staff utility and satisfaction," said Bryan Croft, senior vice president of Operations. "Now, surgical staff representing several service lines will be more aligned as we centralize and standardize our services."

The last procedures to take place on the 3rd floor will be on Friday, Jan. 10. All operating equipment and supplies will be moved and fully running for patient care by Monday, Jan. 13. Although the 3rd floor will no longer be in use, as it is the oldest operating area at Cedars-Sinai, it will remain a functional and licensed operating space.

The service lines affected by the move include plastic and reconstructive surgery, ear, nose and throat, dentistry, gynecology and pediatrics.

The transition is the latest in a string of moves that began in late 2019. Additional details about the transitions will be shared with affected departments and ancillary services. For more information, contact your management team.

 

 

Joan August Named Vice President of Cedars-Sinai Cancer

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Joan August, MS

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Joan August, MS, as vice president of Cedars-Sinai Cancer. In this new role, Joan will have responsibility for the successful development, implementation and advancement of integrated strategic and programmatic cancer initiatives across the health system in collaboration with Cedars-Sinai Cancer Director Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD.

Joan brings more than 30 years of professional healthcare experience to this new position. She is an accomplished leader known for developing and directing comprehensive business and clinical operations, assessing complex business problems, and finding innovative solutions and reaching consensus with diverse constituencies to achieve sustainable outcomes.

Joan was recruited to Cedars-Sinai in December 1996 as director of Rehabilitation and Post-Acute Care. Currently, she is vice president of Operations for the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Breast Health Center, as well as the departments of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Radiation Oncology, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She also has responsibility for Employee Health Services, the Center for the Undiagnosed Patient, the Women's Guild Lung Institute, the Procedure Center, the Bronchoscopy Laboratory, the Pulmonary Function Laboratory and the Ambulatory Infusion Center.

In her new role, Joan will continue to serve as the executive operations and academic leader for cancer services on the Cedars-Sinai campus. Her core responsibilities also will now include development of cancer services across the care continuum, patient access, network affiliations and regional strategies, as well as the integration of programmatic development across the Cedars-Sinai Cancer enterprise.

Joan will be accountable with other Cedars-Sinai Cancer leaders for the financial and operational performance of cancer services, ensuring alignment with strategic and system objectives. She will have oversight of the Cancer Clinical Trials Office to support and provide trials for affiliates.

The operational service lines that currently report to Joan will be redistributed among Senior Vice President Bryan Croft, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Rick Riggs, MD, and Vice President Jennifer Blaha. The transition will occur in early 2020. Further details will be forthcoming.

Please join us in congratulating Joan on her appointment to this important new position.

- Shlomo Melmed, MB, ChB
Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs, and Dean of the Medical Faculty

- Jeff Smith, MD, JD, MMM
Executive Vice President, Hospital Operations, and Chief Operating Officer, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

- John Jenrette, MD
Executive Vice President, Medical Network

Open Houses for Health Delivery Science Program

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After nearly 15 years as a management assistant in the nursing department, Harlem Lee wanted to move up in his career and have more impact at Cedars-Sinai.

He had developed an interest in doing data analysis related to performance improvement. But Lee, who mainly studied  the liberal arts in college, felt he didn’t have the background to advance in that specialized area.

So in 2017 he successfully applied for a spot in the inaugural class of the Cedars-Sinai Master’s Degree in Health Delivery Science (MHDS) program. Lee graduated from the 20-month MHDS program last year—and just was promoted to a project manager position for health equity issues.

"It's actually the best possible outcome that I could have ever possibly hoped for," said Lee, who is eager to use his recently developed analytical skills in his new job.

Lee plans to share part of his story on Monday, Jan. 13, at an open house about the MHDS program for prospective students from noon to 1 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium. Two more open houses will follow: March 6, from noon to 1 p.m., at the 6500 Wilshire Building in the San Vicente Conference Room; and March 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Pavilion, PEC 6 and 7.

The MHDS program, which enrolls 15 to 20 students every September, is one of only a handful of such offerings in the U.S. A much more common path for people hoping to advance their careers is to pursue a master’s degree in business administration or public health. To some extent, the MHDS offers coursework similar to a business or public health curriculum, including classes in biostatistics and healthcare financing.

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Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS

But Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, the founder and director of the MHDS program, said traditional MBA or MPH programs miss the mark for many people working in healthcare. Cedars-Sinai’s MHDS program is aimed at students who “need to learn pragmatic skills like, ‘How do I allocate a budget?' or ‘How do I create data slides that will be compelling to leadership?’ or ‘How do I manage a data set?’”

To suit the needs of working students, classes are taught on the Cedars-Sinai campus. Students go to class for the first 12 months of the program two or three times a week from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. Then, for the final eight months, they focus on a "capstone project"—essentially a master's thesis—that analyzes a healthcare delivery issue.

Spiegel called the capstone project "the secret sauce" of the program. "It's one thing to learn from a textbook or in a classroom. It's another to actually apply it to a real problem. So all of our students need to identify a health system problem that they want to address, and directly apply the skills that they learned in the classroom to solve that problem," he said.

The program has drawn students from a wide range of backgrounds. About one-quarter are doctors, and another quarter are pharmacists, nurses and other clinicians. An additional quarter are in research positions, and the rest of the students generally are in operational or management roles.

"The diversity of the students is something that really makes this program work," said Welmoed van Deen, MD, PhD, the associate director of the program. 

She said students "build upon each other's experience," which she likened to "a real-life situation where you have to work with people from very different disciplines."

The MHDS program is one of three in Cedars-Sinai’s Graduate School of Biomedical Science, which overall has about 100 students. The other programs in the school serve students earning a master’s degree in magnetic resonance in medicine or a PhD in biomedical sciences.

For Cecille Pallagao, who joined Cedars-Sinai 17 years ago as a nurse and who was promoted to an assistant nursing manager position last year, one of the chief benefits of the MHDS program was learning leadership skills. Before starting work on her master's degree, Pallagao was frustrated by the lengthy turnover times between cardiac surgery patients in the operating room where she worked. Yet she didn't have the knowhow to carry out the needed changes.

Pallagao focused on the turnover issue for her capstone project, and her findings were used to cut turnover time. One of the keys was cultivating "buy-in" by the OR staff, a pivotal factor whose importance she hadn't fully recognized before.

Pallagao said she used to have more of a "this is how it has to be done" approach. But now she emphasizes making sure that her co-workers understand her perspective and what's at stake.

Lee considered himself a "non-traditional" student in the program. On the first day of class, when he realized his classmates included accomplished doctors and nurses, "It was very intimidating," he said. Yet Lee thrived in his studies. His capstone project, which explored the relationship between the demographic backgrounds of Cedars-Sinai patients and their level of satisfaction with their care, was brought to the attention of senior leadership, and helped him gain his new position in health equity.

"I found a field of study that I was so passionate about," Lee said. "We’re helping our patients, and we're creating a better experience for them."

In addition, Lee said, "It’s a win for our organization. And it's a win for me because I'm growing professionally. I just feel thankful that I took the chance on this program and that they took a chance on me."

For more information, click here. The application deadline is May 1.

 

Annual Wellbeing Fair Set for Friday, Jan. 10

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The Cedars-Sinai Employee Wellness Program is hosting its eighth annual Employee Wellbeing Fair on Friday, Jan. 10, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. in Harvey Morse Auditorium.

Several Cedars-Sinai wellness and benefit partners will be on-site, including the Work and Life Matters team in partnership with Empathia Life Matters and Bright Horizons, as well as dozens of external vendors, to help employees learn about various aspects of health and wellbeing.

Employees can also enjoy a few moments in a "Zen Zone," where they can receive a free massage and learn about other meditative and relaxation techniques.

The more employees engage at the wellbeing fair, the more chances they will have to enter drawings for prizes including an electric bicycle, Apple AirPod Pro and a back massager. On-site vendors will also give away prizes every hour of the event.

"The annual wellbeing fair is a holistic approach to supporting our hardworking employees and an opportunity to provide them with a variety of personal, financial and overall wellbeing options," said Pat Campbell, executive director of Core HR, Benefits, Wellness and Recognition. "We hope all employees will participate and take advantage of the numerous supportive resources we offer through Work and Life Matters, Empathia and other Cedars-Sinai programs."

The annual fair supports the Employee Wellness Program's mission of creating a culture that focuses on the emotional, spiritual, environmental, physical, social, intellectual and financial wellbeing of our employees.

For more information, visit the Cedars-Sinai Employee Wellness Program.

International Program Aims to Expand Its Reach

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Heitham Hassoun, MD

Cedars-Sinai serves about 2,000 international patients from more than 80 countries each year, coordinating their care, guiding them through the complexities of health insurance and providing translation services in dozens of languages, among other assistance. Now the International Health and Telemedicine Program is seeking to expand its reach in several world regions.

The growth of the program is propelled by Heitham Hassoun, MD, vice president and medical director of the program. To mark his one-year anniversary at Cedars-Sinai, Hassoun sat down with The Bridge to discuss global health challenges, the future of international medicine and what he loves most about his job.

Q: What is the mission of the International Health and Telemedicine Program at Cedars-Sinai?

A: Our mission is essentially a global reflection of Cedars-Sinai's mission, vision and values. We're focused on the wellbeing of all people, regardless of race, religion, culture, or economic or social backgrounds. Cedars-Sinai is known for bringing leading-edge, patient-centered care to our local population, but we also want to extend that care nationally and internationally. We're also very focused on collaborations that can help raise the standard of healthcare throughout the world.

Q: What countries or regions of the world do we serve?

A: We treat a great deal of patients from our border countries—Mexico and Canada—and others from China. We also see growing numbers of patients from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Q: You have created a five-year strategic plan for International Health. Can you share the main priorities of your plan?

A: Our strategic goal is to grow our international patient volumes. We also want to develop new services and products for international patients and have our experts engage in international collaborations to improve healthcare around the world. I think that's an added benefit of working at a place like Cedars-Sinai that enjoys an abundance of talented medical professionals. Cedars-Sinai tackles some of the most complicated care anywhere. We're seen as leaders in healthcare, and we want to expand access to that excellence to global populations.

Q: How is the global healthcare business changing, and how do you see Cedars-Sinai fitting into that picture in the future? What trends are we seeing in international health?

A: We are seeing a growing global burden of chronic diseases in areas such as heart, vascular and cancer. This is applying pressure on all countries to provide the drugs, the know-how and ultimately a different kind of care than what would have sufficed in the past. In this digital age, consumers are more knowledgeable through the internet, so there's a higher level of expectation to receive high-tech and high-touch treatments. Patients know what exists beyond what their local governments and communities may be able to provide, and they want to receive the best care possible.

At Cedars-Sinai, we want to be able to provide that leading-edge care but also engage in international partnerships that foster greater access in other countries so that patients don't necessarily have to leave home to receive the type of sophisticated treatments they want and need.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?

A: I'm a surgeon-scientist and I had never planned to become a global healthcare administrator or leader, but I feel fortunate that these doors opened and that I took them early in my career. What I love most is that I can do all the things that I'm passionate about—first and foremost, take care of people and patients. That's what we're about, and as a doctor that's what I feel is my primary focus. I have learned that I really also enjoy the business side of medicine, and international health is on the front end of this specialty.

I'm from a Lebanese immigrant family, but I was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up as an American expat. My father worked in Saudi Arabia in the '70s and '80s. For me, it brings all my work at Cedars-Sinai into a global context. That's what I love about my job.

New Online Templates and Tools Available to Staff

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To support consistency across Cedars-Sinai's communications, a range of updated digital templates are available for download on the intranet. Staff members are encouraged to bookmark the page for easy access to a range of templates, including:

  • Academic posters
  • Agendas
  • Clinical trial templates (with and without tearaway contact tabs)
  • Fax cover sheets
  • Flyers
  • Letterhead (portrait and landscape)
  • Memos
  • PowerPoint presentations

All templates feature Cedars-Sinai's new colors and logo.

Internal Newsletters

Internal department newsletter templates also have been updated. Those who have previously received access to the templates can download them in Box. If you require access, or if would like to request a newsletter template for the first time, please email tania.chatila@cshs.org.

NEW—Email Signature Tool

If you have not updated your email signature, you can by using the email signature tool. The tool automatically formats your signature to adhere to Cedars-Sinai guidelines, and it provides a preview that you can then copy and paste into Outlook.

Staff members are reminded that additional information, such as quotes or logos (including the Cedars-Sinai logo), should not be present in Cedars-Sinai email signatures.

NEW—Printing Portal

In addition to the downloadable templates, departments now have access to an online printing portal, enabling them to order and pay for a wide range of printed Cedars-Sinai materials, including:

  • Cards (e.g., business cards, buck slips, appointment cards)
  • Envelopes
  • Forms (e.g., guides, consents, questionnaires)
  • Letterhead
  • Marketing Materials (e.g., presentation folders)
  • Notepads (e.g., parking maps, personalized pads)

To order printed materials for your department, visit the portal, select the "Login" button in the upper right-hand corner and complete a one-time registration. Once your registration is complete, product selections will become available and you will be prompted for your department's cost center number when placing your order.

Delivery times are estimated at 10 business days for most items, and staff are asked to be mindful of waste by first using up existing printed materials before ordering more. For more information, please see the Forms and Printed Collateral FAQs.

Additional Print Requests

For printing needs not available through the printing portal, staff members need to register for an account using the inMotionNow project management system. The system is used to process requests for photos, videos, brochures and other collateral materials that need to be developed, designed or printed.

For further information regarding these templates or tools, contact GroupADVPMD@cshs.org.

FDA Warns About Serious Breathing Problems With Seizure and Nerve Pain Medications

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that serious breathing difficulties may occur in patients using gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant) or pregabalin (Lyrica, Lyrica CR) who have respiratory risk factors. These include the use of opioid pain medicines and other drugs that depress the central nervous system, and conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that reduce lung function. The elderly are also at higher risk.

Healthcare professionals should start gabapentinoids at the lowest dose and monitor patients for symptoms of respiratory depression and sedation when co-prescribing gabapentinoids with an opioid or other central nervous system depressant such as a benzodiazepine.

The FDA website has more information.

 

Michael Harris Weiss, MD: 1943-2020

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Michael Harris Weiss, MD

It is with great regret that we inform you that Michael Harris Weiss, MD, passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 4, 2020.

Weiss, MD, was a cardiologist, who proudly served on the medical staff of Cedars-Sinai for over 35 years. He died after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, which forced his early retirement in 2003.

He is survived by his daughter, Carrie Ring, JD, teacher, and son, Andrew Weiss, MD, orthopaedic surgeon, also proudly on staff at Cedars-Sinai since 2005. He was predeceased by his wife, Helaine, who died nine months ago.

He was a loving grandfather to his five grandchildren, Dillon, Kayla, Alexis, Samantha and Julia. He was the longtime partner in practice of Robert Davidson, MD, Kirk Chang, MD, and Kevin Drury, MD.

Weiss graduated from Boston University as the first class of the six-year combined undergraduate and medical degree. He then completed his residency and fellowship at UCLA, before starting his career in private practice.

He was a dedicated and caring physician to so many, and a loving and proud father and grandfather. He will be sadly missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Race to Erase MS or any MS research foundation. 

CS-Link Tip: New Storyboard Feature

Many of you have already started using Storyboarda new feature recently introduced in CS-Link™. Storyboard is designed to more efficiently tell the patient’s story and also to reduce scrolling and the number of clicks.

Storyboard will become the default option on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

To understand the importance of Storyboard, please watch this video.

Here is an explanation on how to switch to Storyboard now.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us at groupeisphysicians@cshs.org.