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We Are Forward-Thinking About Patient Care

Thanks to two progressive programs, YNHPH's patient-satisfaction ratings have never been higher.

Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital has always provided compassionate, high-quality care to patients with a wide range of mental-health disorders. But recognizing that we can always do a better job, we have implemented two initiatives designed to increase our efficiency, timeliness and teamwork — and to ultimately deliver superior services to our patients. Although these efforts remain ongoing, we've already achieved remarkable success.

Shorter Hospital Stays

Although our mission is to provide quality, safe inpatient care to patients who experience severe psychiatric symptoms, we also realize that patients want to return to their lives outside of the hospital as quickly as possible. Yet the duration of stay in the hospital for many of our patients had increased over the years. Acting Administrative Director and Associate Medical Director Sabina Lim, MPH, MD, brought together physicians, social workers, nurses and other professional staff to review exactly how we can provide quality care in a more efficient way, and collectively instituted improvements. Within a year, the average length of stay for inpatients was reduced by nearly two days. "It isn't just about numbers, though," Dr. Lim remarks. "It's about making sure every patient receives care in a timely fashion and leaves feeling that the treatment was worthwhile."

Safe Patient Flow

Our success in improving the hospital's efficiency served as a springboard for participating in a YNHH-wide initiative — called Safe Patient Flow — that is bringing about a major cultural shift within YNHPH. This initiative focuses on enhancing the overall process of hospitalization, from the emergency room to admission to discharge. Again, using a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach, we openly discussed how we organize our work, and new ways to think about how to solve problems. It wasn't always easy, but by learning to understand others' points of view, we are developing the best ways to do our jobs. "We must all be accountable and responsible in meeting our common goal," Dr. Lim says, "which is outstanding patient care." Through this initiative, wait times for emergency room patients waiting to be admitted have begun to decrease, the admission intake process has become more streamlined, and patients are leaving the hospital earlier in the day.

Improving Camaraderie

"I like solving problems and figuring out solutions," Dr. Lim says. "And I like to do it in a way that people feel free to express themselves. Our Safe Patient Flow program has created a greater openness. At meetings and in the units, people feel a sense of pride in the great work they do every single day."