Susan Grout’s stress level would have been lower in 2001 if she didn’t have to wait. She was diagnosed with breast cancer that year. It took three weeks and a second mammogram before she finally met with a surgeon to find out what would happen next.
The following summer a lump was found in her other breast and she had to wait a week to find out it wasn’t cancer.
“That week,” she said, “was longer than the three weeks because I knew what would happen if it was cancer.”
Seventeen years later, she can still recall the anxiety of not knowing. The staff at the Breast Center at Floyd pledges to make sure no one has to experience that feeling of living in limbo ever again. With its “Know in 24” promise, the center is celebrating its 10-year anniversary of delivering a quick and compassionate response to patients who get a mammogram. “I think from the minute you walk in the door it is a welcoming place. Those ladies at the desk are very friendly and helpful,” Grout said.
Susan Grout’s husband, John Grout, is impressed with the Know in 24 promise and understands how difficult it is to make process changes work. He is a business professor at Berry College and is an expert in production and operations management. Grout also advises the quality committee of Floyd Medical Center’s board.
The willingness to absorb necessary labor costs and create work schedules that get the job done requires a commitment.
“That costs money and it is all the more admirable that Floyd is not going to cut that cost, because I think knowing in 24 hours is a wonderful gift to the community,” he added.
Dr. Paul Brock, a general surgeon with Harbin Clinic who was instrumental in the creation of The Breast Center at Floyd, agrees with Grout about the importance of the promise.
“It’s always been the right thing to do,” Brock said. “It’s a logistical problem for the center but it becomes a personal problem for the patient. Now patients are diagnosed within 24 hours and are in a surgeon’s office in a week with treatment plans being made.”
That ability to respond quickly to all patients required planning and cooperation, said Aimee Griffin, Director of the Breast Center at Floyd.
“My understanding is that in the past at other places, if you were a medical professional or if you knew people who knew people it got you certain treatment, and you would know faster than three weeks,” said Griffin. “We asked ourselves ‘how can we deliver that level of service to everybody?’” she said.
Griffin said the process has gotten so efficient that now, a lot of times if a woman comes in for a mammogram in the morning, they’ll get a call about the results after lunch. That is the culture at the center, thanks largely to a dedicated staff of around 35.
“Very quickly the staff begins to see the impact that has on a patient,” she said about delivering results quickly. “So, now every time they make that phone call they get to hear many women exhale and say ‘thank you very much.’’
The Breast Center at Floyd is located on the third floor of the Harbin Clinic Tony E. Warren, M.D., Cancer Center, 225. W. Fifth St., Rome. Call 706.509.6840 to schedule an appointment.