ABC Medical Center, Mexico City
In 2006, when the directors of Mexico City's American British Cowdray (ABC) Medical Center sought out a partner to help them improve their quality standards, they didn't have to look very far. "We wanted a relationship with an institution that was highly regarded and maintained high standards," recalls Director General Alejandro Alfonso. "There were many institutions we could have worked with, and we chose Methodist."
The two organizations already had a history of working together: earlier Methodist had helped ABC Medical Center open its PET-CT lab and their Cancer Center, contributing expertise in policies and procedures, doctor qualifications, and other areas. "From there, we began to look at more things we could do together," recalls Project Director Janice Finder of Methodist International. "That's when we decided to proceed with a complete assessment and look at ways of improving what we discovered through a long-term Strategic Partnership."
The six-year agreement was signed in November 2006 and covers seven key strategic areas, each with its own objectives and metrics: quality, financial, marketing, Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation, service lines, education and support, and research.
"One of the values we saw in this partnership," notes Alfonso, "was the opportunity to implement the service-line concept at ABC Medical Center." An alternative to the more traditional departmental approach, the service-line model of healthcare is a way of classifying different specialties along multidisciplinary service lines instead of in separate departments. For example, the neurology service line brings together neurologists, neurosurgeons, interventional radiologists, and other related specialists under a single primary administrator to collaborate on research, to work on staffing issues, and most importantly, to ensure quality standards are up to par.
"Implementing service lines at ABC Medical Center was a major new initiative," notes Finder. "We worked with their leadership and helped them not only to create the service-line structures, but also to gain stakeholder buy-in and to measure results."
The partnership achieved another key objective when ABC Medical Center was awarded accreditation from the Joint Commission International (JCI) in recognition of its quality and safety standards-the first hospital in Mexico City to do so.
As the international branch of the body responsible for accrediting health organizations in the United States, JCI establishes rigorous quality standards that must be met per a detailed evaluation process if a hospital is to be accredited. It's a highly regarded distinction that recognizes ABC Medical Center's commitment to excellence and elevates the institution to an elite group of about 300 hospitals worldwide.
"Our objective was to have ABC Medical Center achieve JCI certification in three years, and they did it in two," recalls Finder.
While much has been achieved in the first few years of ABC Medical Center's Strategic Partnership with Methodist Hospital and Methodist International, many more initiatives still lie on the horizon. "We want to continue focusing on the main target of quality improvement," Alfonso asserts, "while we also explore the value to be found in cobranding opportunities and also look at ways to implement some of Methodist's best practices in our nursing organization. But the most important thing is that we're definitely on the right track."