Operational & Financial Transition
In March of 2018, Christi Owen, the Director of Quality & Risk Management at Minden Medical Center, encountered a time of transition. The Louisiana-based facility was in the process of changing ownership, and as with any merger or acquisition, the facility faced an operational sea change.
Minden was no longer under the corporate requirement of their previous owner to use their existing patient safety event reporting application. While it might have been easier to just continue business-as-usual by using that product, Owen avoided that all-too-common pitfall of choosing the path of least resistance.
Instead, she seized on the opportunity to evaluate the market to determine if their existing product was in fact the best solution for their facility, operationally and financially.
Finding Value-Price Fit
Though also a hospital system, Minden’s new owner, preferred that its facilities be financially self-reliant. At that time, Owen faced the same challenge many small and mid-size facilities face when searching for a software solution: Finding the right value at an affordable price.
A natural first step was to inquire about pricing for her facility. To continue with the previous vendor as a standalone facility would prove too costly. Owen scrutinized the benefits and weaknesses of the application from a whole new perspective.
A key challenge was ever-present for frontline staff. “One of the things that was hard to manage with our previous system was that every single person had to have a password,” Owen said. “So if they didn’t log in very often, they had to call the system administrator to change their password. It was burdensome for staff and the administrator of the program.” That also meant Minden wasn’t able to collect anonymous event report data, meaning potentially as much as 20% of events were going unreported.
Owen also noted that the event analytics she needed were difficult to navigate in their previous system.
Opportunities they were missing out on would only become truly apparent when Owen conducted her analysis of other available application solutions.
Benefits of Transitioning to ADN’s Event Reporting Application
An Easy Button for Reporting Events
Owen said ADN’s application revealed how much easier it can be to report events. “Frontline staff learned how to use the system very quickly. It’s easy to report an event,” she said. Since ADN’s app is web-based, setup and access are exceptionally easy. Minden’s staff followed ADN’s recommended setup, which involves adding a desktop shortcut to the application on all frontline-staff computers. “Our IT team set up the icon with a big red ‘E’ button. We call it the ‘Easy Button’ because it’s so easy to report an event.”
Uncovering Hidden Trends with Easier-to-Use Analytics
Perhaps the biggest benefit to Owen, and by extension, to Minden Medical as she leads the analysis of event data and the resulting performance improvement initiatives, is ADN’s more intuitive and easier-to-use analytics.
Owen relayed a recent and very tangible improvement resulting from her enhanced ability to uncover patterns and trends that previously lay hidden. “ADN’s event reporting system made it very easy to look at the time of day that events were occurring. “When analyzing falls per unit, we were able to identify that in one particular unit there was an increased number occurring at shift change,” she said. “We implemented an action plan to make sure staff were located in high risk areas during this time. We were able to see an improvement in fall reduction in the unit.”
“If there was a Time-of-Day report in our previous application, it obviously wasn’t easy to find,” Owen elaborated. She revealed that analytics navigation was more of a struggle than she realized until working with ADN system. “Finding the reports I wanted was more difficult in our previous system than it is now. It’s much easier in ADN’s application to just select the report and specify the report parameters. I felt like in our old system you were building your own spreadsheets.”
Owen said one trend she recently discovered through regular monitoring of her event analytics was an increased number of specimen events. “We identified an increase in the number of specimen events so we started a new collaborative on Specimen Collection and Identification. We had our second meeting today where we are flowcharting the process, and we’re going to initiate a LEAN project focusing on that process,” she said. “This collaborative originated from information collected through ADN’s easy-to-use analytics and staff who feel safe reporting events. We emphasize here that the purpose of reporting is for identifying defects and using them for learning and improvement purposes.”
“I don’t think we’ve lost anything. The ADN application accomplishes what we need, at a more affordable price.”
Director of Quality and Risk Management
Minden Medical Center
“More Personal and Accessible” Customer Support
Owen also noted that she experienced a noticeable difference in customer service with ADN, sharing that ADN staff was more accessible than their previous vendor. “ADN is very accessible whenever I need something or have questions,” she said. “It’s a more personal level of customer service.”
Owen went on to convey that the support she experienced extends well beyond answering application questions, describing a relationship that more resembles a trusted partnership with a team equipped with patient safety and quality expertise. And as it turns out, that’s a big part of what she was looking for in her situation. “Having quality and safety experts easily available at ADN eased any concerns about the transition in service,” she said. “It’s so helpful to be able to call and know that you have people at American Data Network you can rely on for guidance.”
And last but certainly not least, Owen said the final benefit that led her to ultimately choose ADN was cost. When asked about the experience of transitioning from a more expensive application to a more affordable one, Owen said: “I don’t think we’ve lost anything. The ADN application accomplishes what we need, at a more affordable price.”
What This Means for You…
Helping your team step away from an existing process that’s comfortable can be a challenge but one that could be well worth it. While not all hospitals will go through a merger or acquisition event, a catalyst like that is not a requisite to evaluating whether your facility could save money while simultaneously getting a better event reporting application. The only requirement is the desire to avoid the “business-as-usual mindset” and take the small step to just open the door to other possibilities for your patient safety department. Worst case scenario? You reaffirm you have the right product for your facility. Best case scenario? You find a better solution for your patient safety team, and save money while doing it.