Hospital focuses on quality, safety efforts
Battling in-hospital infections and avoiding overuse of antibiotics while highlighting successes in providing immediate treatment to heart attack patients, Stamford Hospital has created a new website to feature its team efforts to tackle quality and safety concerns.
The new site provides extensive background summaries on staff-led initiatives to address challenges in critical care, heart and vascular treatment, and infection reduction, said Dr. Rohit Bhalla, the hospital's vice president of quality and chief quality officer.
"This represents a number of things we're constantly working on, including a lot of information about quality and a chance to design a website where the information is well explained," Bhalla said.
Among other quality and safety control initiatives highlighted are efforts to battle drug-resistant microbes such as Clostridium dificile and information charting the hospital's success performing emergency angioplasties on heart attack patients. The website can be viewed at stamfordhospital.org/About-Us/Safety-Quality.aspx.
On the site, the hospital outlines its efforts to battle drug-resistant superbugs, including the addition of a new Xenex robot that emits ultraviolet light to kill bacteria in hospital rooms.
In addition, Bhalla said, efforts to curb drug-resistant bugs by the hospital's infection control team include monthly reviews of hospital infections to ensure hospital staff are following required procedures.
On another level, hospital-affiliated physicians are also able to consult with infectious disease specialists on more careful prescription of antibiotics in order to preserve the efficacy of the drugs, Bhalla said. This "stewardship" effort is intended to curb prolonged prescription of antibiotics for infections, considered a major contributor to the emergence of drug-resistant microbes, Bhalla said.
"It's not just choosing what antibiotic should be used, but also how to de-escalate their use when an infection is under control," he said.
The hospital's nursing staff has also worked with Bhalla and doctors to improve the patient experiences, including greater sharing of a patient's condition between nurses from shift to shift, hourly rounds of admitted patients and other measures to underline patients' involvement in care decisions.
Bhalla said the enhanced focus has resulted in a steady improvement of satisfaction ratings in an annual survey that takes into account communication with nurses and doctors, pain management, communication about medication and other factors.
"Our object is to get the story out about the details of the job we are doing and how we're trying to improve," Bhalla said.
Nurses have also created a comprehensive Fall Prevention Program, including formation of a committee to review incidents of patient falls, an effort that has reduced falls by 27 percent in three years, according to the hospital.
Also highlighted on the site are successes in emergency cardiac care for heart attack patients of the hospital's Heart & Vascular Institute, including a 100 percent success rate in performing emergency angioplasties within 90 minutes or less after a patient's first evaluation by emergency medical technicians.