Small Innovations Make a Big Difference

New prescription sign-out on South 6 (L to R) Lee Estrada, unit clerk; Jackie Hatton, RN;  and Dr Chantal Dewey, PGY-1 Family Practice

New prescription sign-out on South 6 (L to R) Lee Estrada, unit clerk; Jackie Hatton, RN; and Dr Chantal Dewey, PGY-1 Family Practice

Several times a day the nurses on the Medical Center’s Memorial Campus South 6 unit are asked by providers (physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners) for a prescription pad so they can write prescriptions for patients being discharged.

This step in the discharge process requires that the provider find the nurse, the nurse stop what he or she is doing, log into the Picis machine, sign out the pad and give it to the provider.

What a frustrating waste of time for all involved.  Solution: Install a lock on the drawer near the unit clerks and allow the unit clerks to sign out the prescription pads to the providers. After all, the unit clerks are much closer to where the providers are doing their discharge work and more importantly, the unit clerk is almost always at his/her desk and immediately available to help the provider.

This tiny innovation will save time for the providers and the nurses and expedite the discharge process which ultimately will improve patient flow and reduce ED boarders.  And it only required two things be instituted – someone close to the problem that likes to come up with innovative solutions and a manager who  believes it is their job to help implement the ideas of the frontline caregivers. Thankfully, South 6 has both!

Here’s another great innovation… this time from the innovators on 6 West on the University Campus.

The early beginnings of peritoneal dialysis date back to the 1920s and 1930s, but it has been widely used in hospitals since the early 1960s. It has proven to be successful at treating patients with severe chronic kidney disease and has saved the lives of thousands of patients.  Unfortunately it requires the movement of gallons of fluid into and out of the peritoneal cavity. dialysis cart

The handling of this fluid can be challenging and a risk for our caregivers, especially if they have a bad back. Solution, build a $50 cart to transport the fluid to and from the bedside.

The fresh electrolyte solution starts on top of the cart and is fed into the peritoneal cavity.  At the prescribed time the drain is opened and the fluid drains out into a drain bag on the lower level of the cart which can easily be moved and appropriately disposed of.

I recently met with Lorna and Carmen, two of the many innovators on 6 West.

I recently met with Lorna and Carmen, two of the many innovators on 6 West.

The idea for the cart came from the 4-star 6 West idea board.

Caregivers who  are willing to share their innovative ideas to improve care and managers who  are willing to listen — this is the culture we must create throughout  UMass Memorial Health Care.  This is the culture that will make this the best place to give care and the best place to get care.  Thank you to all who  have submitted ideas on the 300 idea boards around the system and to the managers who  have listened to them.

If you have a great idea board you would like me to visit, please send me a note at media@umassmemorial.org or post a comment to this blog.

Thanks for everything you do to take great care of our patients and one another,

Eric

 

One thought on “Small Innovations Make a Big Difference

  1. Will the prescription sign out innitiatve from South 6 be instituted hospital wide? This is a solution that all areas would benefit from.

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