Navy Sees Quality Gains at Hospital; Outgoing Commander Is Given Credit for Marked Progress in Patient Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Byline: TIMOTHY J. GIBBONS

When Navy Capt. Bruce Gillingham moves into his next job as fleet surgeon for the Pacific Fleet in a few weeks, a key part of his job will be building relationships with countries in the region.

He's had practice doing so during the two years he served as head of Jacksonville Naval Hospital, a tour he finished last month.

"There was never a time he was asked to do something that he said he was too busy to do it," said Jay Millson, executive director of the Duval County Medical Society.

Building on programs started by his predecessor, Capt. Raquel Bono, Gillingham got hospital personnel more involved in the local medical community and marked a rise in safety and patient satisfaction at the facility, which in recent years had been plagued with lawsuits stemming from medical mistakes made there.

"He helped the naval hospital move up a level in terms of quality and safety," Millson said. "That's what they needed."

When Gillingham took over in 2008, a Navy-wide quarterly patient survey showed an 88 percent satisfaction rate, compared with 92 percent in June. On a separate monthly survey of patients, satisfaction rates jumped from ratings in the 70s to 88 percent.

"He had a strong, sincere interest in attention to detail and transparency," said Yank Coble, director of the Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy at the University of North Florida.

Gillingham was one of 10 founding members of the Quality Collaborative of Northeast Florida, a regional organization dedicated to patient safety issues.

"Quality and safety are things that must be collaborated on," said Coble, who is also involved with the consortium.

Gillingham was also involved in local conferences on patient care, hosted a symposium on patient safety and introducing the Department of Defense patient-safety program to the hospital. …