The relationship between burnout among healthcare workers and poor patient safety outcomes has been well-documented. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated burnout risk due to increased emotional exhaustion, stress, and fatigue. In response to effects of pandemic, the University of Minnesota developed the MN Resilience Program. This innovative program leverages the “Battle Buddy” system used in the US Army, and resilience principles to support the psychological and emotional well-being among healthcare workers and to connect healthcare workers to peer support.
Understanding the ways in which human factors, such as non-technical skills, influence individual and team performance can ultimately improve patient safety, particularly in high-intensity settings such as operating rooms. The Observation of Non-technical Skills and Teamwork (ONSet) program, created by the Cambridge University Hospitals, uses observation and feedback from Human Factors Champions to evaluate the impact of human factors education in operating rooms.
Medication administration errors are a common source of patient harm. Developed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC), MED.Safe is an automated software package designed to monitor high-risk intravenous (IV) medications in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and identify medication administration discrepancies.
The handshake antimicrobial stewardship program (HS-ASP) was developed and implemented at Children’s Hospital Colorado (CHCO). In 2014, the CHOC HS-ASP team began labeling specific interventions as “Great Catches” which were considered to have altered, or had the potential to alter, the patient’s trajectory of care. CHOC researchers used these "Great Catches" to identify potential diagnostic errors.
ECHO-Care Transitions (ECHO-CT) intends to ensure continuity of care and alleviate the risk of patient safety issues, notably medication errors, occurring because of hospital transition. With funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) adapted Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) to connect receiving multidisciplinary skilled nursing facility (SNF) teams with a multidisciplinary team at the discharging hospital. Within one week of discharge, hospital providers discuss each patient’s transitional and medical issues with providers at the SNF using videoconferencing technology. The innovation has successfully reduced patient readmission and SNF length of stay.
The MOQI seeks to reduce avoidable hospitalization among nursing home residents by placing an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) within the care team with the goal of early identification of resident decline. In addition to the APRN, the MOQI involves nursing home teams focused on use of tools to better detect acute changes in resident status, smoother transitions between hospitals and nursing homes, end-of-life care, and use of health information technology to facilitate communication with peers. As a result of the innovation, resident hospitalizations declined. Funding for this innovation was originally provided to the University of Missouri via a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstration grant. Given the success of the innovation, when the grant funding expired, the model and lessons learned from the initiative were transferred to NewPath Health Solutions, LLC, to ensure continued dissemination.
The Behavioral Health Vital Signs (BHVS) screener is a patient questionnaire input into the electronic health record for depressive symptoms, alcohol and substance use, and interpersonal violence. Widespread staff education and a standardized workflow were developed to ensure that BHVS was implemented in all primary care clinics within the San Francisco Health Network. As a result of implementation, screening for IPV greatly increased, and healthcare teams learned about how to provide patients with resources and referrals regardless of IPV disclosure (“Universal Education”), resulting in more patients referred to support services.
The Patient Safe-D(ischarge) program used standardized tools to educate patients about their discharge needs, test understanding of those needs, and improve medication reconciliation at admission and discharge. A quasi-randomized controlled trial of the program found that it significantly increased patients' understanding and knowledge of their diagnoses, treatment, and required follow-up care. Based on the success of this test, Patient Safe-D was incorporated as part of the Society of Hospital Medicine's Project BOOST (Better Outcomes for Older Adults through Safe Transitions) initiative which uses medication reconciliation, teach back and the Discharge Patient Education Tool (DPET) to help reduce medication-related errors. BOOST provides a full implementation toolkit to help institutions implement this and other programs to improve discharge education.
The Hospital at Homesm program provides hospital-level care (including daily physician and nurse visits, diagnostic testing, treatment, and other support) in a patient's home as a full substitute for acute hospital care for selected conditions that are common among seniors. Studies have shown that the Hospital at Home program results in lower length of stay, costs, readmission rates, and complications than does traditional inpatient care, whereas surveys indicate higher levels of patient and family member satisfaction than with traditional care.
Care management staff (such as nurses, community health workers, health coaches, social workers, or other clinical staff) use software-based protocols to screen older clients' medications and collaborate with pharmacists and physicians to reduce the risk of medication errors and adverse effects. The HomeMeds Medication Safety Program identified and addressed targeted medication problems, leading to fewer cases of therapeutic duplication and more appropriate medication use for cardiovascular medications, NSAIDS, psychotropics and overall medication use.
Project Nurture provides patients with substance use disorder (SUD) prenatal care, inpatient maternity care, postpartum care, and infant pediatric care. Women enrolled in the program receive Level 1 addiction treatment (i.e., outpatient services) from an integrated care team that includes MDs, nurse practitioners, doulas, certified recovery mentors, certified alcohol and drug counselors, and social workers and other mental health professionals. If indicated, they can also receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) using methadone or buprenorphine. Project Nurture’s model is to engage patients in prenatal care and drug treatment as early in pregnancy as possible, provide inpatient care for their delivery, and then follow them and their infants for a year postpartum providing case management and advocacy services throughout.
Trauma staff at The Alfred Hospital use a computerized decision support system to guide the care of patients during the critical first 60 minutes of resuscitation. Known as the Trauma Reception and Resuscitation System (TR&R®), this program generates prompts based on more than 40 algorithms and real-time clinical data, including patient vital signs and information entered by a trauma nurse. Displayed on a large overhead monitor, these prompts are used by clinicians to direct the care of trauma patients and to facilitate documentation and communication. The program reduced overall medical errors, along with the incidence of several specific types of mistakes, including aspiration pneumonia (caused by entrance of foreign materials into the bronchial tree) and errors during management of shock.
The team at Geisinger sought to develop an outpatient addiction medicine specialty program that incorporated medication-assisted treatment (MAT), peer support, and connection to community counseling services that also uses data-driven insights to monitor and improve patient outcomes. As a result of this program, they have been able to reduce all-cause mortality among these patients, increase patient engagement in substance use disorder treatment, and have seen a reduction in the prescription quantities of controlled substances.
Building on the company’s experience as a Hospital Engagement Network participant in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Partnership for Patients, LifePoint Health created the National Quality Program (NQP) based on a commitment to leadership, performance improvement, and culture of safety. . The objective of creating the NQP was to improve patient care, safety, and satisfaction and to give LifePoint hospitals a structured framework for improving patient safety activity, as assessed by an aggregate harm measure calculated using administrative claims data.
Nudges are a change in the way choices are presented or information is framed that can have a large, but predictable, impact on medical decision-making, for both patients and providers without actually restricting individual choice. The Nudge Unit at Penn Medicine focuses on a range of different care improvement projects, including safety initiatives, with this framework in mind that are designed to improve workflow, support evidence-based decision-making, and create sustained changes in patient engagement and daily behaviors.1
Multidisciplinary teams at the University of Kansas Hospital sought to improve patient outcomes from obstetric emergencies by rehearsing team responses in simulations to emergent situations that can occur during a delivery. Using the PRactical Obstetric MultiProfessional Training (or PROMPT) curriculum, teams rehearsed flexible emergency care scenarios in order to achieve an optimal response, and then used this experience to improve their response to a real emergency. The PROMPT program requires the participation of all healthcare providers who might be called on to manage a pregnant women and is repeated annually. Over the eleven years the program was employed at the University of Kansas Hospital, there was a progressive reduction in the rates of cesarean delivery, brachial plexus injury (transient and permanent), and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at term, low umbilical artery pHs, decision-to-delivery times for fetal distress, the need for blood transfusion. The rate of shoulder dystocia was relative stable. These improvements are consistent with both RCTs and case control studies conducted worldwide evaluating the PROMPT program. In 2018, institutional priorities at the University of Kansas Hospital shifted and the team transitioned away from using PROMPT as their training model. However, PROMPT training is implemented widely internationally and is available in North America from PROMPT North America. Other organizations in the United States implementing PROMPT include University of Washington M.C., Baylor Scott & White University Medical Center, and Redington Fairview General Hospital, among others. Participant course materials can be purchased from Cambridge University Press and on Amazon.
Social worker/nurse practitioner teams collaborate with a larger interdisciplinary team and primary care physicians to develop and implement individualized care plans for seniors and other high-risk patients. The social worker/nurse practitioner team also proactively manages and coordinates the patient's care on an ongoing basis through regular telephone and in-person contact with both patients and providers. The program, known as Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE), improved the provision of evidence-based care; led to significant improvements in measures of general health, vitality, social functioning, and mental health; reduced emergency department visits, hospital admissions, readmissions, and total bed days; and generated high levels of physician and patient satisfaction. These successes have been across a variety of health system contexts, including: a VA medical center, primary care health centers, and as a part of a Medicare Advantage plan. A recent analysis found that the reduction in service usage saved the VA medical center $200k per year for the 179 veterans enrolled in GRACE. Another analysis in primary care health centers found that the program was cost neutral for high-risk patients in the first 2 years, and yielded savings by year 3.
The program was initially designed to serve low-income seniors, but has subsequently been replicated with different populations, including adults of all ages who are high risk, Medicare beneficiaries who are 70+ with multiple comorbidities, and older veterans following an emergent hospital admission and discharge home.
Under a program known as the Care Transitions Intervention ®, a Transitions Coach ® encourages patients who are transferring from either a hospital or a short-term skilled nursing facility stay to home to assert a more active role in their self-care. The program has consistently reduced 30-day hospital readmissions and costs as well as 180-day hospital readmissions, even in heavily penetrated Medicare Advantage markets in which the reduction of hospital use has been an explicit focus for many years. The program has also demonstrated success and produced cost savings for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries, at approximately $3,752 per patient enrolled.
Formerly known as the Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS), the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) High-Risk Pregnancy Program links clinicians and patients across the state with UAMS, where the vast majority of the state's high-risk pregnancy services, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and prenatal genetic counselors are located. The program facilitates real-time telehealth consultation for patients, local physicians, and medical center specialists through a statewide telemedicine network; develops and disseminates guidelines to foster the use of best practices by obstetric providers across the state; and facilitates appropriate referrals to the medical center for tertiary care through a 24/7 patient/provider call center. The program has enhanced access to specialty perinatal care, including maternal-fetal medicine consultations and tertiary level obstetric care, which, in turn, has reduced complications, generated cost savings to the state Medicaid program, and led to high levels of patient satisfaction. The High-Risk Pregnancy Program has reduced Arkansas' 60-day infant mortality rate by 0.5 percent due to increasing the proportion of low-birthweight infants delivered at the medical center.
See the Description section for information about number of guidelines and new services; the References section for one new source of information; the Results section for updated information about consultations, guidelines, and website activity; and the Resources section for updated staffing information.