Innovation is a necessary part of improvement and as a health-care organization with a goal to always provide the best, safest care to our patients, encouraging our teams to be innovative leads to better results for everyone involved. We were excited to attend the fifth annual InnovationEx event with our community health care partners on May 4 where our teams showcased two innovations that are making an impact at St. Joe’s.
Patient safety huddles
Patient-driven innovation is the focus of our work in improving safety in our Family Birthing Centre (FBC). A new process is involving patients in safety huddles with staff, providing an opportunity for a discussion with everyone involved to raise concerns and brainstorm potential improvements.
“Patients are the ones receiving care so they have the best perspective on what feels safe to them,” said Luisa Guerrera, FBC Patient Care Manager. “Hearing their voices has been really powerful for our teams and these huddles have actually led to more than 40 actions that are improving quality of care, including everything from new signage to education and process changes.”
The huddles also include a patient and family advisor – Cristina wanted to get involved as soon as she heard about them.
“I thought it was a terrific idea – and so simple!” she said. “Giving patients the opportunity to participate in safety conversations helps everyone learn and ultimately leads to better care.”
Innovation fund inspires creative thinking
If you had an idea to improve care and access to funds and support to make it happen – what would you do? That’s the question posed to staff, physicians, students and volunteers after a generous donation to our Foundation helped create an innovation fund. Since launching in 2017, we’ve had more than 50 ideas pitched and nine ideas chosen to receive funding through this initiative. The fund has supported a literacy program for paediatric patients in our Family Medicine Clinic, a digital wayfinding project that’s still in the works to help visitors with hospital navigation and the purchase of a 3D printer for our clinical engineering department.
“We were so excited to find out we’d been chosen because this makes a huge difference in how the Clinical Engineering team partners with clinical units to improve workflow for staff with equipment and devices,” said Michael Heffer, Clinical Program Director, Diagnostics and Therapeutics and Director of Pharmacy. “Our team routinely examines equipment to identify where brackets, clamps and cases can be used to improve ease of access at the point of care and also improve longevity. Being able to print brackets and clamps in-house is cost efficient and allows us to save money for the hospital.”
This initiative not only helps extend the life of equipment and devices but also helps keeps patients safe. The Clinical Engineering team has started incorporating colour coding for some casings to help frontline staff identify the most appropriate equipment for a patient population.
“Purchasing a 3D printer and supporting staff to go through training can seem like a big investment,” Heffer said, “but it’s balanced by long-term savings and improved patient safety. At the end of the day, our goal is to be able to provide the best care – both by making sure our equipment is well secured and protected but also by saving money where we can so scarce hospital resources can be directed where they’re most needed. This is one way we’re doing our part to help our patients.”
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