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Sarah Bush Lincoln Earns an "A" in Safety/Quality

April 26, 2016 9:01 a.m.

When hospitalized following a surgical procedure, you will see your nurses and doctors wash their hands often, use hand sanitizer and wear gloves. It’s all done to protect the patient from an infection. But they are not the only ones working hard to keep infections at bay.

The staff members who clean your room are as important. They wash down the mattress and floors, bed rails, telephone, doorknobs and restrooms to kill all forms of bacteria. Another group of people are specially trained to decontaminate the operating rooms between surgical cases, while still another group of employees ensure surgical tools are sterile. These are some of the many things Sarah Bush Lincoln does to keep patients and its visitors safe from hospital-borne infections. 

And the work behind keeping patients and visitors safe is noted by independent agencies. Sarah Bush Lincoln recently earned an “A” from The Leapfrog Group in its annual hospital survey to measure quality and safety.

Sarah Bush Lincoln Vice President Medical Affairs Jim Hildebrandt DO, said, “We’re very pleased with this news from Leapfrog. We use this survey as a tool to improve the safety and quality for our patients. Our next step is to dive into the results and look at ways we can further enhance the care we deliver.”

Sarah Bush Lincoln Quality Director Brenda Miller, RN, explained that Sarah Bush Lincoln has implemented several quality and safety measures in the last year to improve the outcome for its patients and earning an “A” from Leapfrog.

“Our Advanced ICU is likely our number one improvement. We have partnered with a company to provide real time, 24/7 telemedicine services in the Critical Care Unit (CCU). Staffed with a wide range of physician specialist, the team works with staff in the CCU to monitor patients and alert them when they see early signs of change in their conditions,” she said. Because of this service, fewer patients require transfers and that helps the patients, and their families, as well.

Secondly, Sarah Bush Lincoln has adopted a culture of safety to improve patient outcomes and keep employees well too. Administrative Director Nancy Wurtsbaugh, RN, who led the initiative, explained that it includes intensive and on-going safety and reliability training for all employees. Through the training, employees are provided with a number of tools to use to improve safety and create a highly reliable healthcare organization.

“Employees have been empowered to ask questions, and stop procedures if they believe something is not quite right,” she said. Other tools include using a pneumonic system to clearly state words and numbers, and ways co-workers can help double check work and help out each other.

Miller added that the Health Center’s catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rate has been at zero for more than three months. A performance improvement team has been working on eliminating CAUTIs for three years and developed protocols to reach the goal and continually monitors it. “Often times, patients who are critically ill may require a catheter and by monitoring its use, we have been able to achieve rate of zero,” Miller said.

Lastly, Miller said the implementation of Cerner software, Sarah Bush Lincoln’s new electronic medical record (EMR), would aid in the continual improvement of safety and quality for patients. The software has a number of enhancements not available in the current EMR, including pertinent patient care information notifications built into the system to help staff members stay on top of the care provided. Cerner is expected to go live in October at a cost of $41 million.




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