Focus On Care Transitions Cut Medication Errors, Patient Readmissions
Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk, Va. won DNV GL Healthcare’s 2019 Innovation of The Year Award for its straightforward yet groundbreaking effort in reducing medication errors.
Sentara Leigh focused its efforts on care transitions – when patients are either discharged from the hospital or transferred to another facility. The hospital instituted pharmacist-led medication reviews, using an interactive dashboard that helped to stratify medication error risk. Although 300 reviews occurred when the initiative was launched in January 2018, by August it climbed to more than 1,000 reviews monthly.
About one in six reviews required a physician intervention, and 70% of the recommended corrections were implemented. Not only were 500 medication errors avoided between May and September of 2018, the hospital’s overall readmission rate was reduced by 10%.
“These are exactly the kinds of results that can occur when hospitals focus on continuous quality improvement,” said DNV GL Healthcare President Patrick Horine. DNV GL accredits all of Sentara Healthcare’s 12 hospitals to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Sentara Leigh also received a runner-up citation for its use of LEAN processes regarding medical instrument sterilization. It led to changes in the hospital’s sterilization processes, including relocation of equipment, changes to inventory control, training, and a decrease in immediate use sterilization (IUSS). The changes led to an immediate 85% reduction in contamination events; 67% over the first seven months of implementation.
UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs, Colo. was also an Innovation of the Year runner up for its 2017 initiative to place vestibular therapists in its emergency room to quickly triage patients who may be suffering strokes versus those who may just be having an episode of vertigo. The initiative reduced costly precautionary admissions to the hospital.
The awards were presented during the 2019 DNV GL Healthcare Symposium in Cincinnati. It was attended by more than 400 healthcare quality management specialists from throughout the U.S.
DNV GL introduced the ISO 9001 quality management system to American healthcare accreditation. ISO creates a specific roadmap for hospitals to not only adhere to the conditions of participation for the Medicare program, but to continuously improve the delivery of healthcare services at every level.
Hundreds of hospitals across the United States have switched to DNV GL Healthcare over the past decade, making it the nation’s fastest-growing accrediting body, with over 500 hospitals accredited in North America.
“We want to identify innovative practices and approaches to address aspects that improve quality, efficiency and enhance patient care,” said Gary Davis, DNV GL Business Assurance North American Regional Manager. “Our success is attributable to the unique approach we take with our hospital customers to use the quality management system to their advantage.”