UTMC to share how it made improvements at national conference

September 28, 2010 | News, UToday
By Ashley Traynum

The accolades continue for The University of Toledo Medical Center. After being recognized by University HealthSystem Consortium in March for surgical care and improving patient safety measures, two University representatives will present how UTMC made these improvements possible at the University HealthSystem Consortium Quality and Safety Fall Forum.

“This presentation isn’t just important to the UTMC community, it is important to patients,” said Dr. Ronald McGinnis, associate dean for clinical affairs and UTMC medical director. “The Surgical Care Improvement Project aims to prevent complications from surgery like blood clots and infection. We have transformed the process and now rank in the top 10 percent of university medical centers and this helps keep patients healthy.”

The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) is an alliance of 107 academic medical centers and 241 of their affiliated hospitals, representing approximately 90 percent of the nation’s nonprofit academic medical centers.

According to its website, the mission of UHC is to advance knowledge, foster collaboration, and promote change to help members succeed in their respective markets. The consortium’s vision is to be a catalyst for change by accelerating the achievement of clinical and operational excellence.

Barb Hankenhof, clinical performance improvement coordinator, will join McGinnis in San Diego for the UHC national Quality and Safety Fall Forum Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 29-Oct. 1. The duo will share how UTMC was able to improve its surgical care measurements through simple steps such as instituting new forms and holding educational meetings and frequent sessions with staff.

“Requirements can change quarterly and we meet with the staff to educate them on the new guidelines,” Hankenhof said. “We know that there will be new challenges, but you can continue to improve if you work together.”

In addition to lessons on processes that can help prevent surgical complications, McGinnis said there are some practical lessons other institutions can take away from UTMC.

“Leadership is important, from the top down, everyone was focused on the issue,” he said. “We also partnered with outside agency KePRO to learn new things from other institutions. We used that information to get better and now KePRO is using us as an example because of our high level of performance.”

KePRO is a quality improvement and care management organization with offices around the country. Its headquarters is in Harrisburg, Pa.

UTMC continues to better surgical safety and recently received a high score for the number of cases that met all 10 compliance measures. The medical center received 100 percent compliance scores on six measures and 96.6 or higher on the other four measures.

“We aren’t resting on our laurels. We are always testing new things to make things better,” McGinnis said.

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