Innovation to Improve Patient Outcomes

By James C. Glasheen

Patient safety continues to be a leadership imperative for the healthcare industry. ACHE members recognize the importance of that, with CEOs consistently citing patient safety among the Top Issues Confronting Hospitals.

At Nemours Children’s Health System, Stephen Lawless, PhD, senior vice president/chief clinical officer, has had a long tenure of leading systemwide quality and safety. An international expert in the field of quality and safety, Dr. Lawless has assisted with many quality and safety initiatives both nationally and throughout Nemours, many of which are receiving national prominence and adaptation.

Dr. Lawless contributed to Nemours’ Clinical Logistics Center, a virtual command center that measures and analyzes every patient’s vital signs. They specifically named it the “Logistics Center” to reflect the military application of the phrase. It’s designed to support the efforts of the “combat units” (clinical staff), and places importance on setting up all lines of communication before moving into action.

The Clinical Logistics Center is based at Nemours’ campus in Orlando, Fla. Built from the ground up along with the hospital in 2010, it connects to all pediatric inpatient rooms and is staffed by paramedics—an intentional choice as they are trained to respond quickly to situations and to accurately follow protocol. In October 2012 the system went live primarily to monitor alarms, O2 levels and patients who require restraints.

The benefits have been measurable and significant, and include:

  • Improving patient throughput and satisfaction
  • Eliminating central monitoring stations on the floors, a cost savings of about $200,000 each
  • Providing CPOE Scribes at high-risk times
  • Hardwiring many National Patient Safety Goals®
  • Facilitating care coordination and reducing delays

Through the Clinical Logistics Center, Nemours recently began monitoring patients to reduce harm from sepsis. Since then, there have been zero unexpected deaths among the patients monitored, a 35 percent improvement in sepsis response time rate, and a decrease in the number of cases from 2 percent to 0.05 percent.

Due to its success, the system has expanded to remotely monitor patients at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children’s campus in Wilmington, Del. from the center in Orlando. Additionally, surgeons and specialists now have remote access to monitor their patients.

Moving forward, Nemours believes the system has the potential to help balance staffing needs and patient acuity, eventually helping to automate patient needs and therapies. Nemours is also looking toward innovations such as predictive physiology to predict and measure patient outcomes.

With a mission to advance our members and healthcare management excellence, ACHE acts as a source of education, engagement and inspiration for leaders such as Dr. Lawless, who has been an ACHE Member since 2015. Nemours’ Clinical Logistics Center is an exemplary model of healthcare excellence—so much so that our 2019 Executive Program included a site tour and meeting with the president to learn more.

For more ways to impact patient safety at your institution:

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