Rethinking quality and safety in the age of COVID
Modern Healthcare discusses workflow innovations that providers, including HSS, have put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, HSS moved quickly to reinvent itself and support its community. Within 72 hours, the academic medical center transformed into a multispecialty hospital, implementing new quality and safety measures to treat critically ill patients regardless of their COVID status. Orthopedic operating rooms and a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) were converted into critical-care units, expanding the number of beds for ventilator-dependent patients. Caregivers were reassigned, with surgeons, nurses and other clinicians providing specialized care at the bedside. Leadership teams met to ensure staffing was adjusted to meet the round-the-clock needs. Nurses quickly adapted to new technologies, integrating telemetry alerts to smartphones. HSS projected live views of bedside monitors outside patient rooms, and enhanced storyboards to ensure that all caregivers knew about individual patient COVID-19 status throughout the episodes of care. COVID-19 units were a short-term solution to address the immediacy of the pandemic, but HSS has every intention of keeping the enhanced safety protocols in place as it continues to encounter patients suffering from the virus’ long-term effects.
“COVID provided a catalyst for us,” said Jamie Nelson, Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer at HSS. “The collaboration between the teams and the rapid pace of implementing new clinical practices and the supporting technologies to care for critically ill patients was really remarkable.”
HSS also created a tool to streamline audits on hand-washing and the appropriate use of personal protective equipment. “We’ve increased those audits to ensure a safe environment for our patients, limited visitors, and employees,” said Jennifer O’Neill, Chief Nursing Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Main Campus at HSS.
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