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Lean Ministry, patients tour improvement work Part 3: Making care accountable


Accountable Care Unit Tour
Erica Pederson, Manager of the Accountable Care Unit, addresses the tour group. PHOTO CREDIT: Medical Media Services.

This story is part 3 of a three part series.
Read part 1 on page 4 of the October 24 edition of e-link
Read part 2 on page 2 of the October 29 edition to e-link

Building on this philosophy (see part 2) is the Accountable Care Unit (4A), the last stop on the tour. On this unit, a physician and nurse manager lead the team together; physicians’ patients are located in the same unit, rather than scattered across the facility; teams care for the same group of patients and are accountable for their care; the unit gathers data which enables staff to measure their performance or outcomes in a number of areas, including patient mortality, patient length of stay and re-admission rates; and interdisciplinary rounds that include a quality/safety checklist take place at each patient’s bedside and include the patient and family.

“Accountable care gets rid of the chaos and fosters relationships with all people providing care with the patient and their families,” said hospitalist Dr. Ron Taylor who oversees the project. He said that in hospitals with established accountable care units, patient mortality rates have dropped between 30 and 50 per cent and length of stay falls 10-15 per cent.

Dr. Joanne McLeod, one of nine hospitalists who rotate through the unit, said the approach is expected to be safer for patients and more cost efficient. “Because staff satisfaction improves, we expect to see less staff turnover and absenteeism. I am truly excited to be part of this team approach.”

Patients are consistently happy with the care they receive on the unit, said Taylor.

“Patient complaints used to be a regular occurrence,” added Erica Pederson, 4A Manager. “Now, they’re one-offs. I get far fewer complaint letters and far more letters from patients saying that this is the right thing to do.”

Sharon and Larry Myers agree, saying they are encouraged by the Region’s efforts to include patients and their families as care partners. They were thrilled to see that multidisciplinary rounds, the implementation of which was part of a rapid process improvement project they worked on in 2013, are becoming common practice.

“We fought for rounding at the bedside and now we’re seeing it happen,” said Sharon.