A banner year as a provider of choice for the region
U.S. News & World Report ranked us among the best in the country in the 2010 America's Best Hospitals rankings. In addition to being ranked in the top 10 in three separate adult specialties (geriatric services, endocrine disorders and psychiatry) and in two pediatric specialties (endocrine disorders and gastroenterology), YNHH was ranked among the best in the U.S. in a total of 13 specialties: cancer; digestive disorders; ear, nose and throat; diabetes and endocrine disorders; geriatric care; gynecology; heart and heart surgery; kidney disorders; neurology and neurosurgery; psychiatry; respiratory disorders; urology; and pediatric gastrointestinal care.
In a year when volume decreased at most Connecticut hospitals, the number of patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital continued to grow. This year, YNHH discharged 56,620 inpatients – or 13.25 percent of all patients in the state. There were more than 590,000 outpatient encounters, too. Despite treating the highest number of patients in the hospital's history, we continued to make strides in patient satisfaction and service excellence. Our overall patient satisfaction scores increased from 86.2 last year to 87.4 this year, and we're not satisfied with that. Our patient- and family-centered care initiative continued to expand and mature, as staff collaborated with patients and families to involve them in patient care decisions and enhance their hospital experience.
The fiscal year began with the opening of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven on October 26, 2009. Over its first year of operation, Smilow Cancer Hospital, in partnership with Yale Cancer Center, became the most comprehensive cancer hospital in New England, with more than 22,500 patient visits this year. In partnership with our physicians, many of whom are engaged in efforts to understand the intricacies of cancer as a group of diseases, target cancer treatments more precisely and develop more effective therapies, we are committed to continuous improvements in the cancer care we provide.
Many significant investments were made in new technology in Smilow including a new operating room suite where brain tumors and other complex neurosurgical cases can be treated. YNHH is the first hospital in the world to offer a new 3 Tesla MRI neurosurgery suite which provides high-quality magnetic resonance images before, during and after a neurosurgical procedure – without ever moving the patient.
In addition to Smilow Cancer Hospital, the Park and Howe Street buildings opened this year, adding much need parking and space for our clinical laboratories, pharmacy administration and offices, as well as the Suites at Yale-New Haven, which offers short-term hotel/residential accommodations for patients' families.
In support of its goal to become one of the top destination hospitals in the country, YNHH, in collaboration with Yale School of Medicine and community-based physicians, identified 12 clinical areas on which to focus during the upcoming year, including ambulatory services, behavioral health, cancer, pediatrics, heart and vascular, internal medicine, neurosciences, ophthalmology, orthopedics, surgery, transplant and women's services, as well as four multidisciplinary areas — advanced lung disease, digestive diseases, spine and trauma.
YNHH opened a new inter-hospital transfer center called the "Y Access" Line which has already begun to increase patient volume by making it easier and smoother for physicians to transfer a patient from their office or another hospital to YNHH.
To help accommodate the increased volume experienced this year, YNHH took a multi-pronged approach. In addition to our Safe Patient Flow work, which created the equivalent of 17 additional beds per day and helped us lower our length of stay by .11 days, Smilow Cancer Hospital's 168 new beds allowed the hospital to reallocate and reorganize the beds in the other three pavilions, which helped alleviate some of the added volume. A two-year, $52 million expansion of the adult emergency department began to add an additional 18,000 square feet of patient care space and 29 additional treatment rooms.
The construction of Smilow Cancer Hospital also greatly enhanced YNHH's sustainability efforts. Smilow is working toward the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Yale-New Haven Hospital has developed a multi-faceted approach to the protection of our environment through a variety of initiatives and practices to eliminate the use of hazardous materials, reduce the use of natural resources and promote the use of sustainable products wherever possible. We installed vending machines which accept recyclable bottles and cans and incorporated "green building" approaches in all of our construction and renovation projects. The New England Transportation Demand Management Conference awarded us the "Innovative New Transportation Demand Management Program Award" this year for our traffic demand management program, which has decreased employee car usage by more than 500 vehicles per day.