Some of you hear the word “change” and feel enthused. Fresh thinking and raw ideas excite you. If you’re part of this group, consider yourself lucky. You’re in the right place (health care) at the right time (reform).
For others, change is hard to swallow. It can evoke thoughts of growing pains and exiting comfort zones. Change is always a challenge, but challenges can bring good. If you tend to identify with this group of thinkers, reconsider change as improvement, advancement or innovation.
Mayo Clinic believes in innovation. In fact, they have a Center devoted to it. The Center for Innovation’s mission is “to transform the experience and delivery of health care.” Their philosophy? “Think big. Start small. Move fast.™”
We’re doing the same. Through employee forums and continual staff huddles, we’re connecting regularly and collaborating openly. We’re bringing people together in new ways. We’re encouraging creativity to drive positive change.
Several recent Altru initiatives born from innovative thinking include:
- Reviewing clinic nursing models in an effort to be more efficient
- Implementing team-based care in various areas
- Improving access by filling cancellations and seeing more patients in a day
- Adjusting models to decrease length of hospital stay
Go Home, Sooner
Let’s talk about one in particular: decreasing hospital stays. No one wants to be in the hospital longer than necessary. In 2014, our goal is to reduce length of stay from 5.18 to 4.5 days. Where do you go when you’re not feeling well? Home. It’s the best place to get better faster. (Learn more about healing environments.)
We’re confident we can make this happen for patients by:
- Designating an observation unit
- Improving the discharge process
- Revising order sets
- Improving nursing/ancillary staffing models
- Adding additional emergency room services/resources
- Revising our hospitalist model to improve efficiency
We are seeking better ways to care for patients after they no longer need to be hospitalized. One example is to provide more home care services. We’re also looking into adopting a standardized discharge time of 11 a.m.
(Learn how inpatient versus outpatient status also makes a difference in terms of government reimbursements.)
We know how to work together. We’ve done it for years. During seasons of change, it’s especially important that we work as a team, openly sharing ideas and positively encouraging one another through challenges, while keeping the best interest of our patients at the core of all we do. Stay tuned to hear more about initiatives and changes at Altru.
This very blog is another place where we come together. What ideas for change are floating through your mind? Share them here.
Additional Suggested Reading:
- Observation Care–High-Value Care or a Cost-Shifting Loophole? (New England Journal of Medicine)
CMS Inpatient vs. Outpatient (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)