“Progress is impossible without change…” – George Bernard Shaw.
While change can sometimes be challenging, the leaders and staff at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) know that the right changes can lead to exciting progress.
Last year, Hotel Dieu and Kingston General Hospitals made a big announcement – they would voluntarily integrate to form Kingston Health Sciences Centre with the new organization operating as one hospital on two separate sites. (Previously, the two hospitals operated as independent, separate corporations with separate governance). This change builds on a strong history of partnership and responded to a shared desire to integrate care, respond to patients’ and community needs, and optimize the acute care components of the academic health sciences centre that serves the Southeast LHIN.
The hospitals similarly opted to go down the path of change a few years ago when the two hospital Emergency Departments (one an Urgent Care Centre and the other a full ED) were faced with emergency wait times that exceeded provincial targets. They developed an in-depth plan focused on various initiatives including:
- A ‘Get Out of Gridlock’ Team created by the Patient Flow Task Force: This team comprised of directors, managers, leaders and professional practice leads gathers for daily huddles to look at key flow metrics such as discharges and transfers, plus any possible bottlenecks or gaps between supply and demand for beds.
- A newly repurposed Admission Transfer Unit (ATU) at the KGH site: By repurposing this space, KGH was able to free up ED beds and improve patient flow by providing patients who have been admitted with a place to reside until an inpatient bed becomes available.
- The creation of a new position to oversee patient flow: This position helps optimize bed utilization and patient transfers.
Leaving no stone unturned, the hospitals also implemented Wellsoft’s Emergency Department Information System, or EDIS, to enhance efficiencies internal to the department. Replacing whiteboards and paper processes in the Emergency Department, Wellsoft EDIS automatically tracks patients throughout the encounter, providing important details into what’s going on in the ED and assisting with managing flow with-in the department. It also manages orders and results, ensures a comprehensive patient record, and incorporates internal and external reporting.
The combined efforts have paid off. Just recently, KHSC was recognized for having the most improved emergency wait times of all teaching hospitals in Ontario, jumping in rank from number 53 overall to 28. It’s typically unheard of for an organization to see such a significant leap in that short of a time period.
But that’s only just the beginning for KHSC.
Damiano Loricchio, Program Operations Manager for the Emergency Department, and the EDIS team have been tapping the powerful reporting capabilities of the EDIS to bring data to light and help initiate data-driven decisions and changes. Damiano jokes that he’s become best friends with the EDIS over the last 5 years. All joking aside Damiano admits, “The amount of data we have been able to access by utilizing EDIS has been mind-blowing.”
In fact, at a recent conference he attended with other EDs in the Southeast LHIN, EDIS’ reporting power garnered much praise. Participants were shown the Emergency physician report card with a staggering amount of metrics – of which 80% come from the EDIS backend. Some of the reports include # of x-rays, prevalence of ordering certain labs, patient acuity distribution, patients seen per hour, patients seen per shift, etc.
All of this data allows KHSC to continue to discover new ways to improve efficiencies and exceed departmental, hospital and provincial goals – ultimately leading to better, safer and faster care for their community. With data at their fingertips, and a history of being able to convert knowledge from data into the change needed for action, the team in the ED, at KHSC is primed for even greater success.