Shaping the Future of Care through FoCUs, Commitment and Collaboration

September 14, 2016 | by KSonnwald
Shaping the Future of Care through FoCUs, Commitment and Collaboration

It all started with an idea.

Four years ago, Drs. Katharine Johnson, Katherine Brandt and Christine Aune, neonatologists, all members of MEDNAX-affiliated practices in San Antonio, brainstormed ways they could collaborate to help advance patient- and family-centered care. While it was always a key consideration in their day-to-day practices, they wanted to do more.

“We always felt strongly that it was not just about getting babies through the (NICU) experience,” said Dr. Johnson. “To thrive and do well, it takes involvement of the family.”

To help them formalize their ideas, give structure to a program and put what they learned into practice, Drs. Johnson, Brandt and Aune began attending an internationally acclaimed seminar hosted by the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care titled Moving Forward with Patient- and Family-Centered Care: Partnerships for Quality and Safety. After three years as conference attendees, the group decided to sponsor this year’s event, November 16-18th, which will be hosted in San Antonio, right in the practice’s backyard.

A history of success

For over 20 years, the seminar has been a significant force for change, improving the way care is delivered in hundreds of hospitals and health care organizations across the United States. With their own evidence of success, the San Antonio practice leaders wanted to increase participation and noted that, although interdisciplinary health care teams benefit from the curriculum, historically, the conference was not well attended by physicians.

As a fixture in the San Antonio community for more than 35 years and with a variety of specialties represented, including maternal-fetal medicine, neonatology and developmental pediatrics, the practice realized their position as a conference sponsor presented a unique opportunity. They could build awareness of family-centered initiatives and increase participation of other health care providers, hospital partners and parents – all critical to the outcomes of their patients – in the local community.

A FoCUs on family

As the conference comes to San Antonio, the practice reflects on their achievements over the past few years, particularly the development of a FoCUs committee. Fittingly, the F stands for Family, the C stands for Centered and U is for Unit. The O and S are silent.

The FOCUS committee is comprised of four key areas, all critical to patient outcomes and the patient experience:

  • Patient education and satisfaction – initiative to promote education and satisfaction, led by Dr. Aune
  • Family Partnership Councils – an initiative to give parents a voice and bolster engagement within hospital NICUs, led by Dr. Johnson
  • Palliative care – an initiative to establish relationships with high-risk mothers and maternal-fetal medicine specialists before a baby is born, led by Dr. Brandt
  • Developmental care and follow up – an initiative to ensure NICU graduates receive the appropriate care once they leave the hospital, led by Dr. Aune

The group hopes that their local peers benefit from the seminar as they have, by developing the knowledge, skills and practical strategies to develop partnerships with patients and families, with the ultimate goal of improving quality and safety.

To learn more about our MEDNAX-affiliated practices in San Antonio, visit:

Texas Perinatal Group (maternal-fetal medicine)

San Antonio Developmental Pediatric Services (developmental pediatrics)

Pediatrix Medical Group of Texas (neonatology)

San Antonio Pediatric Surgery Associates (pediatric surgery)

To learn more about the seminar, visit http://ipf­­nts/semina­rs.html.