Kathy-pearson Kathy Pearson, PhD - Wharton Faculty

 From October 2009 through April 2010, Unit Based Clinical Leadership (UBCL) teams from all three of our hospitals joined with other leaders throughout the Health System in a unique executive education experience. In partnership with Penn Medicine Academy, Wharton faculty member Kathy Pearson, PhD, provided participants with tools and techniques for stronger leadership around execution of strategy.

“Overall, I feel this process was instrumental in changing how I -- and we as UBCL teams -- think about patient care…  how to deliver care and improve quality while managing our other performance metrics,” said Matthew Beshara, MD, OB/GYN.

Pilot projects addressed issues such as reducing readmissions risk, patient education and medication management, discharge phone calls, and a discharge time out.

Participants were able to apply their newly acquired knowledge in pilot projects to improve transitions in care. They addressed multiple issues, such as reducing readmissions risk, patient education and medication management, discharge phone calls, and a discharge time out.  At the fourth and final session, UBCL teams reported out on the success of their project in improving transitions in care as well as what they learned in applying particular leadership tools and techniques.  “This program really helped me to learn and practice important new leadership and management dynamics in a health-care environment that is constantly changing,” said Rebecca McCarron, Associate Director of Nursing, Penn Home Infusion Therapy.

Susan Tan-Torres, MD, Senior Quality Analyst from Penn Presbyterian CEQI, felt that this experience allowed her to interact with and learn from others across the system.  “I learned about the challenges faced by other units in different hospitals and how they addressed and tried to overcome these challenges.”

Team Engagement Essential

While the most recent Leadership Forum on Transitions in Care has ended, the work to improve practices and apply knowledge continues. 

The UBCL team in Penn Presbyterian’s SICU focused on reducing nosocomial deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE) and post-surgery complications which can increase length of stay, readmissions, and mortality. The team, led by Michael Banks, M.D., Carmelita LeBlanc, NE-BC, BSN, Nurse Manager, and Tan-Torres, designed a multidisciplinary approach to improve patient safety and address preventable conditions in the SICU.

The UBCL team, which comprised clinical nurses and infection control specialists, adapted an interdisciplinary rounding checklist, enhanced patient and staff education, and conducted weekly case reviews to evaluate the interventions. They also produced an educational brochure for patients and families to more clearly explain the specific operation and equipment in the SICU. The project required the full involvement of all the staff members to initially increase awareness and then to mobilize actions to prevent DVT’s and PE’s on the unit.

The team quickly realized the importance of consistent attendance and active participation in weekly meetings. Engaging all team members in the planning process as well as sharing information with the SICU staff were also key to its success.  “Despite the increasing volume of patients, the total SICU cases of DVT and PE was reduced by 50% from the pre- to post-intervention period,” LeBlanc noted. “Our daily rounding and weekly case review brought us all together to focus on this preventable occurrence and also improve patient safety and the quality of care on our unit.”

“We are currently developing DVT prophylaxis protocol to improve compliance throughout PPMC,” Banks said, “which may be adopted by the Health System.”

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