Steamboat Springs A series of follow-up protocol for patients getting discharged from Yampa Valley Medical Center is putting the Steamboat Springs hospital on course to have zero preventable patient harm.
The medical center and more than 30 others in Colorado participated in a three-year quality improvement project led by the Colorado Hospital Association.
The project was part of a nationwide campaign called Partnerships for Patients, aimed at reducing patient harm, including adverse drug events, readmissions and surgical site infections by 40 percent and reducing avoidable readmissions by 20 percent.
Improvements made at hospitals mean patients are less likely to develop post-surgery infections, be injured in a fall or have to return to the hospital for additional care within 30 days.
The project ran from January 2012 to June 2014, but the standards implemented at Yampa Valley Medical Center have carried on past the project’s completion.
“We have set a course for zero preventable harm,” YVMC chief nursing officer Marie Timlin said. “We are building a culture of continuous improvement that supports the delivery of care that is safe, timely, effective, equitable and patient centered — [or] STEEP.”
Timlin said efforts by staff to reduce patient harm have led to positive results, including the reduction of the hospital’s preventable readmission rate, which is currently at 6 percent, well below the national average of 16 percent or higher.
The hospital’s inpatient fall rate has been reduced by more than 40 percent since 2013, and YVMC is one of only a handful of Colorado hospitals with a rate of zero ventilator-associated pneumonia incidents in intensive care units.
Statewide, the project’s results saved hospitals an estimated $14.8 million during the life of the project and prevented 2,800 patient harms.
YVMC has implemented post-discharge phone calls, opened an outpatient pharmacy and created automated discharge instructions as part of the staff’s effort to reduce preventable harm.
“The discharge phone calls allow a nurse to ensure that the patient understands their follow-up treatment and responsibilities after being discharged from the hospital,” Timlin said. “The outpatient pharmacy allows a hospital pharmacist to go over new prescriptions with patients before being discharged so they understand their new medications, and the new discharge instructions include diagrams and standardized instructions that are easier for patients to read and follow.”
Nationwide, the Partnerships for Patients program achieved a 17 percent reduction in patient harm, estimating 50,000 fewer deaths and $12 billion in savings to hospitals.
More information about the project can be found at the Colorado Hospital Association’s site, www.cha.com.
To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow