While maintaining its focus on high-priority quality and safety issues such as readmissions, care transitions and infection prevention, the National Patient Safety Foundation also added some new elements to its 12th Annual Patient Safety Congress in Orlando, Fla.
Boot camp in session
NPSF looks to inspire organizational change with demonstrations
For instance, in response to requests from past attendees, organizers offered a half-day-long, pre-conference measurement boot camp where participants could learn more about how to assess performance with existing quality measures and how to use those results to spur organizational change. Diane Pinakiewicz, the foundation's president, called the level of interest in the boot camp “tremendous,” and said the session, which included instruction from Helen Burstin, senior vice president for performance measures at the National Quality Forum, was very well-received.
Attendance at this year's conference hovered around 1,000, according to a spokeswoman, up slightly from last year's total.
A newly added simulation center also featured several staged, interactive situations using mannequins interspersed among vendor booths in the conference's exhibit hall. In one simulation, attendees could examine a surgical “patient” and his chart to determine the number of safety violations. The presenters were from the UM-JMH Center for Patient Safety, a collaborative center founded jointly by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and the Jackson Health System, Miami.
“The training is a really effective way to show them the benefits of good communication and working as a team,” said David Birnbach, professor and executive vice chair of the University of Miami's anesthesiology, perioperative medicine and pain management department, and the director of the center. Jackson Memorial Hospital requires that all of its interns take the course before treating patients, he added.
At another demonstration, led by staff members from the Center for Medical Simulation, Cambridge, Mass., a “patient” who had just given birth to a baby was losing blood fast and participants were instructed to administer more blood using an unfamiliar pump device, all while being timed and videotaped. The goal, according to Jordan Halasz, the center's technical director, is to use simulation as a tool to evaluate new products in real time while also training clinicians to use them properly.
The conference's sessions also garnered enthusiasm from attendees, particularly those that incorporated concrete strategies for tackling common safety problems.
In one session about preventing deaths in the emergency department, Sandra Schneider provided several tactics for reducing overcrowding and threats to patient safety, including getting discharges out of the hospital earlier in the day and urging surgeons to spread surgeries more evenly throughout the week to enhance efficiency. Schneider is the president-elect of the American College of Emergency Physicians and chair emeritus of the emergency medicine department at the University of Rochester (N.Y).
In another session on improving transitions of care, panelists spoke about their efforts to make transitions safer for patients. Christopher Kim, a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan system and one of the speakers, highlighted the system's participation in Project BOOST—short for Better Outcomes for Older adults through Safe Transitions—a care transitions improvement initiative sponsored by the Society of Hospital Medicine.
“We had a lot of open phone calls and took a lot of suggestions from people, and we really tried to deliver in the content of the meeting,” Pinakiewicz said. “Executing our ideas for the learning and simulation center was hard, but it was remarkable to see it unfold and to hear so much positive feedback.”
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