Addressing the Quality Problem
We have a great opportunity to fix the quality problem and drive costs down. WakeMed is focusing on reducing readmissions, infection rates, falls and preventable errors. We are also working to increase communication. Quality is a journey, but we are firmly on the path to addressing many quality issues.
Current examples of quality and safety progress happening at WakeMed include:
- Information Technology: On March 5, the WakeMed Board of Directors approved the expenses associated with implementing Epic's electronic health record (EHR) program. Once implemented, this system will improve communication and continuity of care by integrating nearly all of WakeMed's clinical care and revenue cycle information into a single, streamlined record. Epic's EHR, known as EpicCare EHR, is award-winning and is known for being easy to use, physician-friendly and very patient-focused. It encompasses hospital, ambulatory and physician practice clinical care as well as revenue cycle for the entire system. Ultimately, patients will enjoy access to their own records and the ability to schedule appointments, get results and print growth charts through the use of Epic's patient portal product.
- Infection Prevention: The Central Line Task Force was formed at Cary Hospital in 2011 with the goal of reducing the number of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) occurring among patients in a non-intensive care unit (ICU) setting. Since its inception, the team has reduced the number of CLABSIs in one quarter from seven infections to one with the eventual target of zero. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team also prevented all central-line associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) from occurring within their unit for one year.
- Falls Prevention: In their continuous quest to find products and strategies that can help make our patients even safer, the WakeMed Falls & Restraints Committee recently brought TABS® falls monitors to our system. Made by Stanley Healthcare, TABS falls monitors are designed for patients who are at risk for falls, have an unsteady gait, are forgetful or have unclear judgment. Each monitor is a thin pad that can be placed on a chair. An electrical connection that runs through the pad senses the weight of a patient who is sitting on the chair. If the patient stands up, the pad triggers a verbal reminder to the patient to please sit down and call a nurse for assistance. The verbal reminder can be recorded and customized by a patient's family member, friend or caregiver and can sound something like: "Hi, Grandma, please remember to sit down and call a nurse if you need some help getting to the bathroom or moving around your room." The hope is that a friendly, familiar voice will put the patient at ease and influence them to sit back down and either wait for or call for assistance.
- Preventing Readmissions: Medicare patients at WakeMed are now benefiting from a new hospital-to-home transition program designed to help them adjust back to their daily life after being hospitalized for a chronic health condition. The program aims to help these patients learn how to manage their own health and wellness while utilizing the community resources that are available to them. The program is designed for an 11-county region of central North Carolina and is the result of a community collaborative that was formed by WakeMed in partnership with Community Care of Wake and Johnston Counties (CCWJ).
- Quality and Safety Culture: WakeMed's commitment to quality goes beyond programmatic efforts. Through integration of our quality and safety structure at every level of care, we hope to identify medical problems before they happen. As a learning organization, we hope to discover opportunities to improve the care we give to our patients by closely examining any adverse events and ensuring that our care is the best it can be to serve the needs of our patients.