Improving Patient Safety Success Stories
Hospitals that have
become a patient safety organization.
LifeWings has had consistent, documented success helping clients achieve their improvement goals. Our programs are designed to provide optimal ROI and measurable, demonstrable, sustainable results.
Fewer Surgical Events, A Better Infection Rate,and Lower Staff Turnover All Within One Year of CRM
Like many health care organizations, St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Georgia, (SFHGA) knew that to ensure its sustainability with the torrent of changes in health care, it had to make improving patient safety a major priority. Although the hospital had a solid quality and safety record overall, less-than-optimal communication and teamwork in the OR had led to some negative outcomes.
Hospital leaders knew they had to move from good to great. So the CEO made quality and safety their top priorities and took the unique step of incorporating this mandate into the hospital’s strategic plan. The move worked. The results from their initial CRM implementation, started just a year ago, are remarkable.
TeamSTEPPS Plus LifeWings Halted Dire RN Turnover, Saved More Than $500K,
And Reduced Mortality
In the fall of 2009, the leaders of St. Mary’s Good Samaritan, Inc. (SMGSI) committed to “reducing the incidence of preventable harm to zero” with improved teamwork and communications through use of the TeamSTEPPS program.
SMGSI, one of the largest systems in Southern Illinois, is comprised of two mid-sized hospitals: St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia and Good Samaritan Regional Health Center in Mt. Vernon. SMGSI provides critical services to the area including emergency care, medical/surgical, oncology, neurology, mental health, obstetric, cardiology, orthopedic, pediatric, and rehabilitation.
The leaders at SMGSI realized that to fully address their weak areas and see real improvements, they needed more than just an out-of-the-box program. Their foresight resulted in several measurable improvements and a clearer path to greater safety in the future.
CRM Implementation Results in
National Award for Children’s Hospital
Training Magazine ranked Miami Children’s Hospital as the 3rd top training organization in their renowned ranking of the best 125 training organizations in the US. The hospital ranked higher than Vanguard, the US Navy, Microsoft, Best Buy, and other world-class organizations. The Training Magazine report is the only report that “ranks companies unsurpassed in harnessing human capital.” MCH was also recognized for having the highest scores in three application categories and overall qualitatively. Additionally, they received a special award specifically for the work they have done with their LifeWings CRM implementation.
For Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH), winning awards is standard operating procedure. But its latest award, which acknowledges its outstanding training program on a national level, is an important affirmation of the remarkable results they have achieved from their comprehensive patient safety initiative. MCH was founded in 1950 and provides dedicated pediatric care in more than 130 sub specialties through its 650 attending physicians. But this year, for the first time, MCH has been ranked in the top five of the 125 companies selected for the 2012 Training Top 125– Training magazine’s report on excellence in training and employee development. Miami Children’s Hospital pediatric subspecialty programs have been selected among the nation’s best by U.S. News and World Report since 2008 and the exceptional care at Miami Children’s Hospital has garnered it the designation of Magnet facility by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The best organizations in the U.S. compete for high rankings in this report by providing information on their programs and results. In 2011, when MCH received an excellent ranking of 14– higher than Intel, FedEx Express, and McDonald’s– the competitive field included medians of $1.2B in revenues and 6,000 employees.
Elimination of Retained Foreign Objects
A Level 1 Trauma Center hospital is saving an estimated $1.2M per year (or more) through their elimination of retained foreign object and their decreased expenses for traveling nurses.
A surgical sponge can cost a hospital a few cents. But when it’s left in a patient’s body after surgery, the human and financial costs are crushing. When one major hospital in the west recognized the need to eliminate these types of errors, they acted swiftly and got bold results. The incidence of retained foreign objects (RFO) after surgery is so common that some malpractice attorneys specialize in providing services dedicated to that type of medical error. One report indicated that 1 in 5,500 surgeries resulted in an incidence of an RFO –— 68% of the time the object is a sponge.
The hospital was averaging several RFOs per year. In addition to being potentially life threatening, the errors were also damaging the hospital’s bottom line. Hospital leadership knew that inaction was not an option. Due diligence on successful improvement programs convinced hospital leaders that a sound place to start their ambitious program was with crew resource management (CRM) training. Leaders reviewed proposals from several CRM providers and selected LifeWings because of the program’s results and focus on sustainability. The results of the hospital’s focus on this issue are remarkable; since the OR team has learned and implemented the communication, safety, and debrief tools taught in the LifeWings program and added the use of radio frequency-based scanning devices to help track sponges (this does not help with instruments), the hospital has had zero cases of objects retained.
Improved Safety Culture Rankings, Lower Turnover, Higher Morale, and Better Response Times
In 2006 leaders at the largest provider of maternity care between Montreal and Manhattan decided to partner with LifeWings to uncover and fix potential problem areas in their state-of-the-art maternity center. Their effort worked. When the hospital implemented the Press Ganey Safety PerformerTM solution, an assessment of the hospital’s safety culture based on direct feedback from its staff, their percentile rankings compared to hospitals of all sizes, improved by 9%. Observational feedback from personnel at various levels confirms that staff morale is better, turnover is lower, teamwork dynamics and emergency response are better, and patient satisfaction has improved—all the intended results of a comprehensive improvement plan utilizing proven CRM methods.
To demonstrate the seriousness of their commitment to adopting CRM methods, leaders closed down the OR department for two days—a significant investment and one not done before—and trained more than 247 nurses, physicians, and staff. After the initial project, six other departments participated in the LifeWings CRM training. The use of CRM methods has made such a difference at the hospital that in 2010, the hospital created a position dedicated solely to improving safety. The Director of Patient Safety and CRM services and a graduate of the LifeWings Train-the-Trainer program, affirms that “We are on the forefront of CRM compared to our peers. We see daily how the teamwork principles are a part of who we are here; we say they’re in our ‘DNA’ and the maternity center is an excellent example of the potential results.”
Clinic Diabetes Care Improvement
For an inner-city community clinic in the Midsouth, LifeWings worked with clinic leadership to improve new employee training, teamwork, and standardization with the ultimate goal of improving the diabetes care provided to its patients. The clinic leadership recognized that their recruitment and new employee orientation programs were not cost effective. In addition, their teams were providing less than optimal diabetes care due to limited resources and lack of teamwork.
Poor adherence to diabetes care protocols carries an increased risk for serious, sometimes life-threatening, complications including blindness, amputation, and heart disease just to name a few. The community clinic leadership team wanted a way to implement specific communication strategies and safety tools in order to standardize and improve the quality of diabetes care in the clinic.
The LifeWings® patient safety training program targeted specific communication techniques and Hardwired Safety ToolsSM in order to meet the clinic’s needs. Following the training and safety tools implementation, a formal study of 619 type 2 diabetes patients was conducted over a thirteen-month period. The study concluded that the LifeWings intervention resulted in improved diabetes care. In addition, the clinic documented a measured decline in nurse turnover rates, a decrease in patient visit time, reduction in new employee orientation time and an overall improvement in patient outcomes.