Safe, high-quality patient care – our primary focus
Our key patient safety and clinical quality goals focused on areas from hand hygiene (making sure that all caregivers wash before and after patient contact) to reducing catheter–acquired blood stream infections to requiring adherence to a safety check before a procedure is initiated. Other safety and quality of care improvements we continued to monitor were patient handoffs, pressure ulcer prevention and fall prevention.
A number of improvements in the way in which we operate directly benefited our patients. Our Safe Patient Flow initiative helped ensure that patients had beds ready for them when they were ready to move from the emergency department or post-anesthesia care unit. In doing so, we also increased our bed capacity, without adding beds, by discharging more patients by 11 a.m. – those who were medically ready and scheduled to leave. As a result, we were also able to reduce the wait time in the adult emergency department by 33 minutes.
YNHH was one of just a few hospitals in the country to be highly rated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) for the care of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients. Our regulatory readiness paid off as we performed at or above the 95 percent compliance levels for the majority of the 42 areas related to congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, pneumonia and surgical care which are measured by CMS. A week-long CMS on-site survey concluded on September 1 with excellent results.
2010 was also a year focused on assuring constant readiness for regulatory reviews by the Department of Public Health, The Joint Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and numerous other organizations with jurisdiction over the care or environment of care. This was accomplished by performing regular internal inspections and surveys and making improvements to assure that everything is in order each and every day — not just when we're surveyed.
This year we made the important decision to invest in a patient care information system known as Epic, a multi-year initiative designed to enhance the safety, quality and efficiency of care through a common electronic medical record among all Yale New Haven Health System hospitals, the Yale School of Medicine and many of the community-based physicians who practice at our hospitals and outpatient sites. It will be implemented first in outpatient settings — including Yale Medical Group, our physician foundation known as Northeast Medical Group and YNHH community physician practices. We believe that the vision of "one patient one record" will help prepare us for a changing healthcare delivery and payment landscape.