Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital recognized for incredible throughput turnaround

DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital recognized for incredible throughput turnaround

Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan paid a visit to DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital Aug. 28 to congratulate the hospital and its Emergency Department team on a remarkable improvement in throughput.

Many initiatives have been implemented in recent months at the hospital with the goal of dramatically shortening the time between a patient’s admission from the ED and being transferred to a unit. The hospital has seen staggering results from the hard work of its employees – in January, only 37.7 percent of patients were in a bed within two hours of being admitted from the ED. By June, the hospital staff had brought that number to a remarkable 86.7 percent. The corporate target is 75 percent.

“Sinai-Grace is known in the Detroit community for its emergency room service, and the phenomenal improvement in throughput is being talked about throughout the community and throughout the Vanguard system,” Duggan said. “I just wanted to come out today and thank the employees who did it. To go from very few people making it from the emergency room to the floor in under two hours to almost 85 percent is just a remarkable accomplishment. The entire hospital is working together, and that’s a good thing.”

The measures implemented at Sinai-Grace have increased the quality of patient care, created a better sense of collaboration within units and between departments, and allowed for greater efficiency and accountability for the entire process and all involved.

“I’ve been down in the ED for 12 years now, and back then we had patients all along the walls and stacked on top of each other, and now – something I never thought I’d see – they’re going through within two hours, which is an amazing feat,” said RN Stacy Swasey.

Creating this kind of dramatic improvement was far from an easy process, and it wasn’t just up to the ED. It required a change in the culture and attitude throughout the entire hospital.

“I think it has had a lot to do with getting the staff engaged – teamwork and cooperation from the floors,” said Denita Johnson, ED manager.

“We’ve all come together because we care,” said Helen Bixler, quality improvement specialist in the ED. “We care about our jobs and we care about our patients and we’re trying to help people. We are meeting daily and looking at numbers to try and figure out if it’s not working, what we need to do to get things working.”

Instituting the daily huddles was a big part of the initiative’s success.

“I think because the hospital leadership took ownership of it and it wasn’t just an ED issue – all the leadership in the hospital comes together daily to solve the problem and we could never have done it if people weren’t willing to do that,” said Mike Banish, ED nurse educator.

Victor Bell, process improvement specialist at Sinai-Grace, said the participation and dedication from the ancillary support teams was critical to the initiative’s success.

“They really served as the glue to solidify us in knowing that everyone was involved,” he said. “To have that frontline support – they’re dedicated, they embraced it and they were a part of it all along the way. The team was very willing to try new things – we talked about it, we revamped, we regrouped, we modified and we tried something else. The result is that you’re seeing this sustaining, which is the most difficult thing to do.”

Terese Cracchiolo, radiology administrator, couldn’t agree more, as her team made effective changes that carried over to the ED, and they’re celebrating the results.

“We increased our communication with the ED, we found areas where we could help them with throughput – how important it is to get X-rays done (and) the CAT scans done to make a diagnosis, and we came up with processes to make it flow more quickly. We were able to work it out efficiently and come up with a better process. It’s been a huge advantage to be involved, I feel like we’re a wonderful team now and that when there’s any issues, it’s so easy to communicate and you don’t have to worry about stepping on any toes.”

Seeing their hard work pay off and receiving praise for the effort has been a thrill for those involved.

“It’s very exciting for all of us to be recognized,” said Stacey Clark, director of the ED. “We all know that great things happen down there in the ED and we try to do the best we can every day and give 110 percent. But for others to see it and recognize it, it makes everybody feel good.”