Straight Talk - "Three primary goals"

June 19, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

NCH has three primary goals: (1) Improve the quality of care, (2) increase patient safety, and (3) enhance the patient experience. To accomplish these goals requires one thing in particular—shared decision-making from all of our 4,000 colleagues.

With an “A” grade on safety for both campuses from Leapfrog, a well-respected national accreditation organization, we must be doing something right in terms of integrating the formidable resources of our entire caregiving team. This team-based model involves those who are closest to patients and families. By being involved and directing professional standards and behavior, all of us are able to provide better care, receive better care, and have a much more satisfying and engaging experience.

This team-oriented journey started for NCH four years ago in nursing, under the transformational leadership of Chief Nursing Officer Michele Thoman. Our more than 1,000 nurses have transformed their practice at NCH by operating through nine committees, which meet monthly to share best practices, evaluate new technology, standardize care, model communication, and reward and recognize the outstanding work being done locally. Results speak for themselves. We now have the lowest annual turnover and least number of open positions ever. In some areas we have a waiting list of applicants. We also haven’t had traveling nurses for two years.

More recently, the Respiratory Therapy and Rehabilitation Departments adopted this same methodology. Today, we are poised to go system-wide, from top to bottom and side to side. Having a common shared decision making methodology, that emphasizes participatory decision-making, ensures the best outcomes for patients, community, and ultimately ourselves. Successful healthcare systems like ours create a positive culture of trust and open communication in which all stakeholders share a common purpose and worthwhile work, and are all making a difference. These are the goals we stress with new employees at their first orientation and throughout their careers with us.

For the past year, we have enhanced this participatory decision-making model with the MyIDEA program, which rewards colleagues for contributions adding to value (quality/cost). Thus far, 15 employees have received cash award ranging from $50 to $2,900 for their good ideas. Here are a few examples:

  • Rhonda Gary, Accounts Receivable Service Rep, suggested changing the face of patient hospital bills, placing credit card information on the front, thus increasing visibility, convenience and payment.
  • Nicole Low, Unit Secretary ICU, suggested stopping production of consent and other lab forms every time a test was ordered. These permissions now will be completed once during a hospital stay.
  • Jillian Ewel and Mercedes Rankin, Pathology Office Coordinators, and Matt Rudy, Histologist, together suggested ceasing a process involving surgical specimens, where spare samples were never used and most times damaged during storage.
  • Adam Francis, Clinical Educator, noticed Clinical Engineering replaced our telemetry wires with a different brand; asked a nurse in Angioplasty, to “pilot” an alternative ECG wire for a month to ensure they were of similar quality. Resulted in a 25% savings annually by switching to the new telemetry wires
  • Peter Beckler, Cardiac Cath Lab Supply, suggested a way to transfer the logo and information fields onto blank discs that cost 14 cents each, instead of $3.50 each.
These are the people on the front lines, who implement their great ideas, are key to shared decision-making, and help make our system the envy of many others, as we continue to serve our patients and our community.



Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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