Innovative Programs Address Technology, Equipment, Communications

Throughout Alameda Health System (AHS), safety is the constant and paramount concern for patients, families, and team members alike.

Ever mindful of this concern, AHS leadership is responding with a series of innovative, direct and highly effective initiatives to ensure that we’re doing all we can to provide the very best in safety measures for patients and AHS front-line teams.

We’re partnering with a contractor to help us assess and select equipment needs; incorporating the latest in computer technology to ensure efficient, precision patient care; and upgrading our face-to-face communications to promote immediate action on safety issues every day.

“Improving patient safety is core to AHS’s patient and family-centered care delivery model, and is a priority for our staff, physicians and leaders. Patients put their trust in us during the most vulnerable moments of their lives, and this is a responsibility we take very seriously. Equally as important as patient safety is the safety of our staff and physicians. New equipment, advanced computer technology, spacious private patient rooms and a recently implemented safe patient handling program have enabled us to provide safer and higher quality care,” said Reshea Holman, Vice President, Patient Care Services.

Here’s a look at three major programs underway to keep us in the top ranks of safety-minded health care systems:

Midas+ Software Focuses on Quality
The Midas+ software suite, launched in July 2016, is being put in place throughout AHS to strengthen our safety and quality review capabilities.

Designed as a quality-focused database, Midas+ stores and assesses data to track and evaluate our quality- and safety-related performance. As AHS has grown, the efficiency and effectiveness of electronic records have become more crucial to ensuring the best possible care.

Midas+ addresses that objective, pulling together various aspects of risk management, safety and quality for optimal performance. That translates into faster action in monitoring such issues as readmissions or hospital-acquired harm.

A front-line nurse manager, for example, can share with team members what trends are developing, to map out a corresponding preventive plan on the spot. Midas+ helps define what part each team member must play in achieving goals.

It also helps us work on concerns prevalent throughout the industry so we can stay ahead of the curve in the increasingly competitive health care environment.

Atlas Lift Tech Partnership Benefits Patients, Nurses
The health care industry has become increasingly aware of dangers patients and nurses face when patients must be lifted and moved for therapy sessions, to change positions, and for other reasons.

For patients, there’s the risk of falling, and for nurses the risk of back, shoulder and other injuries. That’s where Atlas Lift Tech comes in, a consultant AHS partnered with to improve its safe patient-handling program.

Atlas’ multifaceted approach is aimed at improving patient safety, reducing caregiver injury, making sound equipment investments, and producing a “thriving and sustainable culture of safety.” Atlas first conducts a painstaking, customized assessment of client needs, as it did at AHS. It then recommends a specific combination of training, patient handling procedures, and lifting equipment options, recommending third-party vendors matched to the client’s needs.

The AHS program, begun in March 2014, has been overseen by nursing and nursing education, the front-line teams with direct knowledge of patient handling and mobility needs. The result: a much safer environment for our patients and the people who take care of them.

Patient Safety Meetings and Rounding
Another important improvement we’re bringing to patient safety is heightened attention to our regular meetings.

Highland Hospital, for example, has a weekly meeting for nursing directors where they discuss any safety issues that have arisen during the week, a 2 1/2 -year tradition. Highland also holds a daily 15-minute Patient Safety Huddle, with managers or directors from every department – engineering to nursing to environmental services.

The huddles, instituted by Chief Operating Officer Luis Fonseca, are held across all AHS campuses, providing a forum for addressing immediate issues on the spot.

Highland also last year put in place a system of hourly rounding on the nursing unit. With a steady nursing presence, patients are happier and feel safer. Nurses, in turn, are more likely to spot potential problems, providing more safety and security to patients.

Additionally, nursing managers conduct leader rounds, employing a mobile app called iRound. Over three shifts, managers interview 100 percent of the patients in each unit every day. The iPad app they use has feedback mechanisms that keep track of patient concerns and show when they were addressed.

Such attention is paying off in patient experience scores, which have risen significantly in the past two years – especially in patient responses recommending Highland as a health care provider of choice.

Finally, AHS has addressed security concerns by adding a greeter to the fourth-floor Security Desk. Visitors must also provide a picture ID (or otherwise provide verifying information) before they are issued badges enabling them to visit patients. Patients and nurses now feel safer, and the greeter contributes to more comfortable surroundings.

All these measures contribute to our commitment to constant improvement as we go about our vital mission – safely and securely.