Safety & quality
Chief clinical officer,
BrightSpring Health Services
A nurse executive, Sender led the Louisville, Ky.-based company's COVID-19 outbreak committee. The response included developing a web-based platform that was used to track confirmed cases. Nurses would be automatically informed of a case, allowing local leaders to put care plans in place. New infection prevention protocols were put in place across 2,400 care settings and the overall infection rate was less than 1%. Before the pandemic hit, Sender and her team seized opportunities to improve care in a more coordinated way. They implemented an electronic medication administration system that allows clinicians to remotely check if patients are adhering to their medication administration, identify gaps in coverage and intervene when necessary.
How do you identify opportunities for innovation?
Opportunities for innovation are all around us—it’s less about identifying opportunities as much as opportunities present themselves. We need only to listen for them. There are possibilities in all that we do. Areas where we are not performing well, where there are complexities or if something is overly burdensome pleads for innovation. As clinicians, we naturally seek ways to improve care and services; ease clinician workload and improve access to care for those we serve. Seeking feedback and listening are critical.
What advice do you have for people who know how to get an idea in front of managers but may be afraid of failing?
Start small; solve a specific problem for a single patient, client or location. Always seek input from other stakeholders and, most importantly, from those outside of the issue. In my experience, “fresh eyes,” especially from those completely outside of the issue, offer rich ideas. In presenting to a manager or leader, communication should always include a statement of the problem or opportunity, hard data that clearly illustrate the issue and a well-thought-out solution along with cost or resource needs. Perhaps even more important is how you’re going to measure success, how often you’ll monitor it and for how long.
How do you stay focused on innovation during a crisis?
This pandemic necessarily presented opportunities for innovation in order to keep our patients, clients and each other safe and healthy. At BrightSpring-PharMerica (PharMerica Corp. merged with BrightSpring in 2019), given our size and multiple service lines, we saw a clear obligation to identify innovative ways to track the spread; provide education, tools and materials for our teams; and monitor their compliance in real time. In order to streamline COVID-19 case and exposure triage and reporting, we built a secure, cloud-based web application. To optimize our ability to quickly visualize COVID-19 positive patient, client and employee trends by business segment and geography, we developed a business intelligence application, leveraging Power BI (Microsoft Corp.). These tools are used every day as a “situation room” that enable us to deploy specific mitigation tactics as cases emerge.