At UMass Memorial, we are continuously examining our performance and monitoring how well we're doing compared to the highest standards of the health care industry. We are always striving to provide the very best patient experience and improving health care. This means that we take note of where we are, and how to be even better. For example, some of our current projects include,
Falls Prevention Program
Preventing falls is an important goal for us. Each year, between 700,000 and 1,000,000 people in the United States fall while in the hospital, yet research shows that nearly one-third could have been prevented.
UMass Memorial Medical Center is engaged in two pilot programs, in partnership with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Each program looks at the incidence of falls from a variety of ways. Multiple teams and departments are involved from nursing to physicians to transportation services . These teams are examining planning tools that could help identify patients at risk for falls earlier in the patient’s experience at UMass Memorial.
UMass Memorial is proud to be part of a select group chosen to implement this change in our organization. Our goal is to keep our patients safe and reduce the occurrence of falls.
A Strong Culture of Teamwork and Safe Care
The UMass Memorial Labor and Delivey team has been testing an evidence-based program that was first initiated by the Department of Defense. The program, called Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (Team STEPPS), is a very exciting initiative to foster a strong culture of safe care by improving communication and teamwork skills.
TeamSTEPPS provides higher quality, safe patient care by:
- Producing highly effective medical teams that optimize information, people, and resources to achieve the best clinical outcomes for our patients.
- Increasing team awareness and clarifying team roles and responsibilities.
- Resolving conflicts and improving information sharing.
- Eliminating barriers to quality and safety.
Improving Caregiver and Patient Communication
Patients and families tell us they want to understand their plan of care, the role of each person taking care of them, and what tests are scheduled when and for what purpose. To that end, we are piloting Patient White Boards on several patient care units across the Medical Center. These boards are designed to provide a standardized method and location for the patient’s care team to document tests planned for the day, the names and roles of the patient’s care team members, along with other pertinent information .
Operating Room Check List
According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), a simple checklist completed during surgical procedures reduced the overall incidents of complications and death significantly. A Surgical Safety Checklist was developed by the WHO to be adapted by individual health regions to meet their specific needs.
The Operating Room (OR) team of UMass Memorial Medical Center adapted the WHO checklist and created one that would meet the specific needs of our patients and our operating room care. The checklist has become an integral part of our everyday process in the ORs. It ensures that our OR team is prepared for a safe patient experience - ensuring the right person, right case, right time, consent is signed, right equipment, right position, and everyone is aware of the needs of patient in every single procedure.
Other Quality Partnerships
UMass Memorial Medical Center partners with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors and many health care agencies and facilities across the state to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors. Learn more about the group’s work at http://www.macoalition.org/index.shtml.