2010 Quality Expo recap

UNC Health Care's Quality Expo took place Oct. 19 - 20 at UNC Hospitals. The Expo, which is the annual showcase of quality and patient safety projects by departments across the Health Care System, featured more than 125 exhibits this year.

2010 Quality Expo recap click to enlarge "All Hands Working Together," winner for best poster at the 2010 Quality Expo.

The displays not only tout patient care quality achievements but also serve to raise awareness and educate employees and visitors on the daily work of departments across the hospital.

Kathy Duncan, a radiology nurse, took it upon herself to make sure that the work of radiology nurses, who are spread throughout the hospital rather than concentrated on one unit, wasn’t overlooked this year. “I found out that our department had never participated in the Expo before,” Kathy said, “and I just thought to myself, that is crazy. There are so many of us, and we do so much throughout the hospital, and I think people should know about it.”

Kathy made three posters herself, including one to educate employees and visitors on all the areas that are staffed by radiology nurses. Thanks in large part to Kathy’s efforts, radiology ended up with a total of 12 posters on display. “It just takes a little push from someone, I think,” she said. “Then people realize it doesn’t have to take a lot of time to make a poster. And we have such good things to share.”

Many posters at the Expo show efforts made to improve patient safety, to reduce length of stay, or to save money. Mary Lynn Henderson, a nurse at the Ambulatory Care Center, explained a project launched by the Ambulatory Surgical Center to reduce the number of same-day surgery cancellations. They found that simple reminder call the day before surgery reduced the number of no-shows and provided an opportunity to remind patients that they wouldn’t be able to go into surgery if they’d eaten or didn’t have a ride home – problems that accounted for a large number of last-minute cancellations.

The name of the poster was “Nobody Told Me That,” a reference to the excuse given by patients who’d come in for surgery, say, having just eaten a Bojangles biscuit. “Well, they can’t say that anymore!” said Mary Lynn. “Now we have it documented that they were called and informed of pre-op expectations.” The project, which cost the hospital $18,000, already has saved more than $107,000 and exemplifies the success stories the Quality Expo allows our employees to share. 

On the day of the Expo, tri-fold boards lined the hospital lobbies, stretching from the Neurosciences lobby down to the Children’s Hospital. “We had more exhibits than ever this year, and so we needed a lot of space,” said Sonte Buie, who works in Performance Improvement and Patient Safety, the department that sponsors the Expo. “Also, we tried to arrange the displays so that the posters matched up with the hospitals they were displayed in, so for example, if you work on a Women’s unit, your poster would be in the Women’s Hospital lobby.”

Attendees are asked to vote on their favorite posters and the prize for the winning poster is a gift card. This year,The Internal Medicine Clinic took first place, with their poster titled "All Hands Working Together." The second place winner was "Reducing Day of Surgery Cancellations” from the Ambulatory Surgical Center, and in third place was “Decreasing Length of Stay for Post-Liver Transplant Patients” from the Transplant department’s Green Belt team.

New at the Expo this year was TeamSTEPPS marathon training. For more than 24 hours straight, two-hour training sessions were offered to anyone interested. TeamSTEPPS, which stands for Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety, provides tools and strategies to improve communication, leadership, and ultimately, patient care. Fifteen units are currently fully trained to use TeamSTEPPS, but ultimately the goal is for every unit to use the system.

“It’s the single initiative that we’ve done here that’s changed patient safety culture hospital-wide,” said Tina Willis, MD, who is a TeamSTEPPS physician leader and medical director of the Pediatric ICU, the first unit to adopt TeamSTEPPS. “It’s so successful because a short amount of training can really make an impact on the safety culture throughout the hospital.” The training marathon provided an easy way for employees to learn how to use the TeamSTEPPS method, and it promoted awareness of the initiative to everyone who visited the Expo.

Such a successful Quality Expo this year may be hard to top in 2011, but as long as UNC Health Care employees continue to think of innovative ways to improve the way we care for patients, the Expo is sure to continue to grow.

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