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Home > Health Topics > Podcasts > "Evaluating the work we do"

"Evaluating the work we do"

July 8, 2008

William Walker, MD
Contra Costa Health Services

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Contra Costa Health Services is a public agency. We're in the news a lot - encouraging people to get immunized against a disease, describing what happened during a refinery accident or appearing at the Board of Supervisors to talk about an urgent issue.

I'm Dr. William Walker, Director of Contra Costa Health Services and I would like to talk to you about how we know how well we're serving you.

Sometimes, I get questions about "what's going on over there." Those conversations make me think about how we evaluate our very complex operation, which includes a broad range of programs and services.

We have a number of very concrete measures that we use to judge our performance. At Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, for example, we've dramatically changed some of our operations and we can see the results in patient safety and better outcomes. At the Health Centers, we've reduced the time patients have to wait and we're developing a better approach to track diabetes and other diseases.

A number of our divisions, especially CCRMC and the Health Centers, the Health Plan, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Mental Health and Public Health have federal and state regulatory agencies that prescribe standards for them.

Many of these agencies make site visits, sometimes for days or even weeks, pouring through records, walking around and observing. Those reviews are anxiety producing for our staff. But often, in spite of the anxiety, the outcomes are delightful.

Most recently, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals and Health Care Systems gave our Medical Center and Health Centers high marks. We've also been singled out by Stanford, Harvard, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and others for our achievements in quality and safety.

Sometimes evaluations point the way to areas where improvement must be made. We learn from these evaluations so that we can continue to have a high quality operation that delivers excellent service with respect and responsiveness to all. For instance, a 2006 survey by a federal regulatory agency found we needed to make some improvements in our Psychiatry, Food Services and Pharmacy departments. We saw this as an opportunity and made the needed improvements and then some. As a result, our Medical Center recently received a "clean bill of health" from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

However, our most important feedback is from you. Contact us on our website at Let us know what you think about our services and how we can serve you better. And thank you for listening.

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