Focused on Zero

In order to achieve the highest level of quality and patient safety, Hillcrest Medical Center remains focused on pursuing the latest best practices and most advanced technologies in the health care industry. Hillcrest Medical Center’s Patient Safety Officer, Debra Allen, remains actively engaged in researching and implementing quality improvement initiatives focused on measuring and improving patient outcomes.

“It’s important to stay focused on the next level of excellence,” said Allen. “As health care environments continue to evolve, quality and patient safety remain our top priority. We’re always learning new methods to reduce infection and improve the experience for our patients.”

The quality team considers every aspect of the health care environment and prioritizes initiatives with the greatest impact on patients and their families. Goals are determined by state and federal agencies, and additional goals are established at the hospital level to exceed national standards.

“We listen to our staff to identify policies, procedures or technological advancements that can be implemented to improve the patient experience,” Allen said.

In 2018, Hillcrest Medical Center utilized the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to assess our safety culture. As a result of the survey, the hospital implemented a new daily patient safety huddle program. In addition, new education and training initiatives were implemented to educate nursing staff on bedside shift reports and hourly rounding programs. Hospital administration monitors the performance of bedside shift reports and hourly rounding and provides feedback to the nursing staff on their performance.

“This consistent communication and accountability keeps quality and patient safety at the forefront of our daily activities,” Allen said.

Hillcrest Medical Center has implemented the following evidenced-based practices for hospital acquired infection (HAI) aiming for zero occurrences.

  • Central Associated Blood Stream Infections – implemented baths with Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG), dressing changes with antibiotic targeted dressing, and alcohol caps for lines among other bundle practices.
  • Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections – implemented nurse driven process to remove urinary catheters as soon as possible.
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) – implemented processes for careful screening of patients on admission to the ICU’s
  • Clostridium Difficile Infections – implemented a guideline for assessing and treating patients with suspect C-diff infections.

“Hillcrest has made significant strides in reducing Hospital Acquired Infections,” said Allen. “HAI’s are near zero and have been reduced over all hospital associated infections by 51 percent from 2017. We never stopping striving for zero.