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Susan Bukunt

Leadership in Action: Cultivating Teamwork to Improve Patient Care

Susan Bukunt has served in many different roles during her over 40-year tenure at El Camino Hospital, and her experiences have taught her the importance of teamwork and that internal process improvements directly impact patient care. As Senior Director of Quality and Patient Safety, Susan was asked to play an integral role in the launch of the iCare system at El Camino Hospital, which manages the electronic medical records for patients. “You need everyone’s help in the decision-making process. If you engage key people as part of the team, they will help make the initiative successful,” says Susan.

She adds, “I became the Senior Director and iCare Operations Champion as we prepared for iCare’s rollout in November of 2015. My role was—and still is—to bridge the gap between the clinical side and the information technology side.” iCare consolidates patient information into a single, comprehensive view that benefits both doctors and patients. This broad view of patients’ medical and treatment history allows care teams to collaborate more closely and deliver excellent patient care. Patients benefit from having critical information accessible and consolidated whether they visit the emergency room, radiology department or any other location in the hospital.

The iCare implementation team placed one goal above all else: delivering great patient care. In order to implement the system effectively and positively impact patient care, all levels of staff and all departments needed to work together. With her vast experience in patient safety matters and her ability to bring people together, Susan was the ideal person to lead the iCare implementation: “I know which safety concerns and compliance issues to address to help us deliver great patient care. And I know whom to reach out to in the hospital so we can solve any challenges.”

“The team is very collaborative. We engage people who are actually the end-users and if something isn’t working for them, we work to find a way to fix it. I have enjoyed being part of a team that strives to make things better together,” adds Susan.

Through the implementation of iCare, coordinating patient care has become easier and accessing long-term patient histories outside of the hospital has opened new doors to developing effective treatment plans. In fact, El Camino Hospital has securely shared over three million patient records with more than 750 hospitals in 48 states in the 18 months since iCare went live.

Moreover, patients can easily interact with their medical records through the myCare website. The website allows patients to access test results, receive bills, and in some instances, even request refills and communicate with doctors. In the near future, the hospital will further upgrade myCare by adding features like MyChart Bedside. “El Camino Hospital is focused on being as transparent as possible. We want a vehicle to share the patient’s information with them in real-time and MyChart Bedside is one way we can do that. Patients will have the ability to see test results and learn about their care or condition in real-time, while they are still in the hospital.” explains Susan.

With her many years of experience at El Camino Hospital, Susan is proud to contribute to a program that will have long-term benefits to both current and future patients. She appreciates how much iCare has already made a difference for patients and doctors alike and believes it is the latest in a long line of examples for how El Camino Hospital is constantly seeking to improve patient care through teamwork and technology.