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Quality Innovation Reduces Infections at Augusta Health

September 15, 2016 | By Lisa Schwenk
Published in: Infectious Disease, Spotlight

Augusta Health staff receive 2015 Quality Innovation Award from the Virginia Health Quality Center

Augusta Health is among eight hospitals in Maryland and Virginia to receive the Virginia Health Quality Center 2015 Quality Innovation Award. The award recognizes hospitals that are achieving reductions in hospital-acquired infections (HAI) and who are creating a culture of patient safety. All hospitals enrolled in the VHQC Maryland-Virginia HAI Improvement Network were reviewed, based on 2015 calendar-year performance.

The award considered data from two sources:

  • Targeted Assessment for Prevention developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that looks at rates of HAI such as CAUTI (catheter associated urinary tract infection), CLABSI (central line associated blood stream infection) and CDI (c Diff).
  • Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems
  • The top 10% of hospitals in each state received the award.

Innovations implemented at Augusta Health in the past year that have worked to improve patient safety and quality of care and reduce HAI include:

  • Daily Safety Huddle: Led by Scott Just, MD, it's a daily gathering of more than 40 clinical and non-clinical directors who review the events of the previous 24 hours and patients who may need special attention from caregivers in the next 24 hours. The exchange of information creates awareness of those at risk for complication, so actions can be taken to reduce the chance for infections and falls or prevent worsening condition.
  • Nurse Active Rounding: As a group, nurse leaders visit patients that staff has identified as possible concerns to proactively discuss an interdisciplinary course of action.
  • New 'Early Warning' System: Patients are monitored continuously for early warning signs of a change in the patient's condition, such as reduced blood flow to vital organs, so actions can before the situation becomes dangerous.

Scott Just, MD, leading a safety huddlePatient safety and quality of care are our highest priorities at Augusta Health. Every day, we bring together our clinical and non-clinical department leaders to discuss events of the past 24 hours, and proactively discuss what we expect during the next 24 hours. Concerns are addressed before they become serious issues. We prioritize, assign staff to look into issues, and make sure everyone has the support and resources they need. The huddles, by moving our focus from one that was reactive to one that is proactive, have really had a positive impact on quality and patient safety.”

Scott Just, MD, who leads the Augusta Health Safety Huddle each morning

For nearly two years, Augusta Health has participated in the HAI (Hospital-Acquired Infections) Improvement Network, led by VHQC. As the Medicare Quality Innovation Network for Maryland and Virginia, VHQC convenes patients, partners, clinicians and others to rapidly spread best practices for improving healthcare. The other hospitals recognized are Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Maryland; and Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital and Virginia Hospital Center in Virginia.

"The Quality Innovation Award is formal recognition of all the highly engaged, creative, and concentrated effort by our physicians and staff to improve the outcomes of all our patients. The improved communication brought about by the Safety Huddles and Active Nurse Rounding, and the resulting increased teamwork to support each other to meet the needs of our patients, has been remarkable."

Richard Embrey, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Augusta Health

Visit Health Quality Innovators for more information.