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Collaboration at Work: Reducing Surgical Site Infections
May 6, 2019 Share

The Organizational Excellence and Quality team at Spectrum Health Lakeland has recently reported zero infections for the last quarter. (In 2018, Lakeland conducted 130 colectomy surgeries). The results come after a closing process was implemented to ensure best outcomes for colectomies, a surgery during which a portion of a colon is removed.

Based on information from the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative (MSQC), the process aimed to reduce surgical site infections for a procedure that has one of the highest rates of infection in health care and included collaboration among Lakeland’s quality team, clinical educators, nurses, surgical technicians, and general surgeons.

“Through this project, we worked together to educate teams using online learning, written instructions, and hands-on training,” said Katie York, Manager, Patient Care Services. “This helped us ensure that staff fully understood the process and that the change would be effective.”

Physician champion of MSQC, James Clancy, MD, emphasized that the process has led to better outcomes for patients and for Lakeland.

“By standardizing and optimizing the process, we have lowered the number of infections, which means hundreds of thousands of dollars saved in wound care and better outcomes for our patients. This is a major accomplishment,” he said.

Kendall Troyer, Vice President, Organizational Excellence & Quality, hopes that this will inspire others throughout Lakeland to take the same approach.

“This was a great team effort that involved so many people,” said Kendall. “The team identified an opportunity to improve and did something about it. Health care is rich with this type of opportunity, and to remain a top hospital, it is important to seek them out and make changes necessary to improve care.”

Lakeland has consistently outperformed other health systems in a variety of measures and has been recently recognized for these achievements, being named among the 15 top health systems and 100 top hospitals in the U.S. by IBM Watson Health™. The IBM Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals winners outperformed peer group hospitals within all 10 clinical and operational performance benchmarks evaluated in the study.

“Collaboration at Work” is a Pulse NewsLink series featuring situations when team members recognized an opportunity to improve care and took the initiative to bring about positive change at Spectrum Health Lakeland.

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