Empowered nurses help Parkview Heart Institute go Platinum

platinum achievement award

Excellence has always been a driving force behind the care Parkview Health delivers to the patients and families it serves. Now, a series of initiatives, known collectively as “Patient Perception of Excellence: In the Hands of a Nurse,” has earned Parkview Heart Institute a Platinum Achievement Award from Professional Research Consultants, Inc. (PRC). PRC Achievement Awards recognize organizations at the hospital, facility, department or unit level for enhancing their patients’ perception of care by focusing on Key Drivers of Excellence®. Platinum recognition is the highest level of recognition Achievement Award winners can earn.

In January 2015, Parkview Heart Institute’s Overall Quality of Care percentile ranking within the data PRC collects for its Prep-Recovery/Cardiac Cath Lab (PHI PR/CL) had plummeted to a 7.8 Percentile Ranking against PRC’s national normative database, based on the % Excellent score. But, thanks to some smart, creative thinking that engaged and empowered nurses to “own” the quality of care they deliver, PHI PR/CL rebounded spectacularly and finished the year with an Overall Quality of Care percentile ranking of 99.9. Here’s how Parkview went Platinum.

A commitment to excellence

Above all, Parkview Health is dedicated to improving health and inspiring well-being. It has established a reputation for:

  1. Tailoring a personalized health journey to achieve every patient’s unique goals
  2. Demonstrating world-class teamwork as it partners with patients on that journey
  3. Providing the excellence, innovation and value patients look for, measured by convenience, compassion, service, cost, and quality.

That’s why the disconnect between brand promise and performance, measured by an Overall Quality of Care percentile ranking of 7.8 was more than a little disconcerting to the PHI PR/CL team. To operate more effectively and efficiently, Parkview Health had introduced a new electronic charting system in mid-2014. But even the best system implementations disrupt operations. Throw in an increase in patient census and new hires who not only needed to be onboarded but also had to be trained to use the new technology, and it’s easy to see how resources were stretched thin.

So the PHI PR/CL took a deep, collective breath and affirmed that it wanted patients to feel safe, calm and confident in their care. Pulling together its Patient Experience Team managers and Nursing Council Action Team (NCAT), PHI PR/CL concluded that the key to providing excellent, holistic care was inextricably linked with one Key Driver of Excellence® — Nurses’ Understanding and Caring — and the ability to empathize with patients. Open, effective communication and teamwork emerged as top priorities.

A solution with heart

The PHI PR/CL quickly understood that patient perceptions of care were in the hands of nurses, and that led to the four interrelated initiatives that resulted in the unit’s remarkable turnaround.

  1. Perfecting Patients’ Bedside Whiteboard/Communication Board. The revamped and retooled whiteboard clearly communicates everything caregivers need to know to create a coordinated, rewarding patient experience. Headers make it easy to identify physicians, nurses and techs who are members of the care team. The definition of Excellent Care also occupies a prominent position on the board, confirming for patients and their families that the standard of care is high at Parkview Heart Institute. Names of patients and family members appear on the whiteboard as well, helping caregivers understand relationships quickly. And special needs and instructions are plainly spelled out, enabling caregivers to seamlessly follow through on care plans.
  2. Introducing Procedural Physician Panel Cards. Created by the lab supervisor working closely with the Cardiology office, Procedural Physician Panel Cards offer patients and their families brief bios of the physicians who will be providing patient care. These “mini-résumés” enable nurses to manage up their procedural cardiologist and reassure patients that they’re in excellent hands. Casual conversations sparked by the cards help doctors connect with patients and align with a second, important Key Driver®: Physician’s Understanding and Caring.
  3. Conducting Casual Patient-Focused Rounding. Approximately an hour before discharge, a nurse leader well-acquainted with the day-to-day activity of the unit and all aspects of patient care stops by to chat. Entering the room, this interviewing nurse greets patients and guests and reviews the whiteboard before sitting across from them at eye level. This helps personalize the visit and facilitates an easy, comfortable conversation. Together, they discuss the patient experience, including: how frequently caregivers checked on the patient to provide routine services, such as removing food trays or offering a warm blanket; whether caregivers addressed pain control; how administrative necessities affected patient comfort and care; whether patients and family members saw caregivers working as a team; and what, if anything, the care team could have done better. The interviewing nurse also lets patients know that they will be receiving a post-discharge telephone call and explains the survey card, after emphasizing how much Parkview Heart Institute values their input. This type of casual rounding represents a continuation of care, lets PHI know if it has met patient expectations and promotes the Key Driver® of Nurses’ Understanding and Caring.
  4. Asking Staff to Lead Weekly Joint Huddles of the Prep-Recovery and Cardiac Cath Lab Teams. Adapting principles from Parkview’s Professional Leader Model, Parkview Heart Institute wanted to engage nurses more deeply in taking ownership of the delivery of care and empower them express themselves and share in leadership roles. Leading the huddles created opportunities to improve cohesion and surface and address patient and staff issues and concerns. Leadership of the huddles enabled nurses to see a new side of themselves and their colleagues and renewed their commitment to one another and to patients.

These initiatives deepened the engagement of PHI PR/CL nurses and empowered them to take ownership of the care they deliver. Their patients think that is excellent.