RRHS Announces New Initiatives Aimed at Patient Safety and Quality

March 16, 2015

RUTHERFORDTON – Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS) has announced a number of new initiatives focused on patient safety and quality. Under the guidance of Duke LifePoint (DLP), with whom RRHS affiliated in 2014, the new measures follow a “deep dive” assessment of patient care at RRHS conducted by DLP in the fall.

The deep dive prioritized items on an RRHS work plan, including three activities begun in February:

  • Bedside Shift Reports – emphasizes face-to-face communication of the care plan with patients and their families. These briefings happen as nurses change shifts to assure proper continuity of care. Currently all inpatient units have implemented this measure and the Emergency Department is soon to follow;
  • Patient Safety Huddles –representatives from patient care areas meet twice daily to review quality guidelines and any risks of infections, falls or other harms;
  • Executive Patient Safety Rounding – hospital administrators are improving communication with caregivers by rounding on staff to ensure concerns are being heard, tools and equipment are sufficient, and patient safety concerns are being attended.

Another key element in the quality and patient safety initiatives is the involvement of physicians, who are leading teams and acting as champions for the new efforts. One example is a physician-led team to study, monitor and assist with improvement to reduce overall post-op infections, and as of early March this team has reported zero infections in that area.

Drawing from feedback given from patients and from publicly reported quality data, RRHS leaders use what is called a balanced scorecard to monitor progress and facilitate improvement. This scorecard is customized to RRHS. It is closely examined monthly by the newly named Patient Safety Clinical Quality Committee at the hospital, which reports progress on to an oversight committee comprised of Duke LifePoint leaders twice annually.

RRHS leaders have expressed excitement about progress already achieved and say the affiliation with DLP has given RRHS ready access to numerous resources, including experts in quality and patient safety, as well as best practices within the Duke Quality Network.