Kittitas Valley Healthcare improves communication by emphasizing patient input

September 19, 2019

Kittitas Valley Healthcare’s journey to develop Total Joint Surgical Packets started with a post-op meeting. The patient had just undergone a joint replacement. The patient told KVH staff that while his experience was overall positive, it seemed like the hospital and clinic he had gone to for services had not been communicating as effectively as they could have. The patient shared that he had been unsure what roles the hospital vs. the clinic played in his surgery.

In response, KVH staff created a team charter that outlined patient expectations and analyzed the existing process to improve patient care. The team included the chief of clinic operations, the chief nursing officer, a clinic manager, a hospital nurse, a clinic nurse, a clinic patient service representative, an orthopedic surgeon, a hospital case manager and the director of surgery.

KVH promptly identified process improvement goals to work toward, including:

  • Developing a visual system for tracking surgeries and the patient process
  • Reducing the time from notifying outside resources, such as physical therapy and home health
  • Creating standard communication using the EHR
  • Increasing team communication regarding upcoming surgery
  • Improving post-op admission and discharge instructions for patients

Changes were efficiently communicated to all clinics. Total Joint Surgical Packets were created for patients with clear directions explaining the steps of pre-surgery, day of surgery and post-surgery, and all patient paperwork with phone numbers listed of who to call when they need help and surgical education documents.

In recognition of their work to improve hospital/clinic communication, KVH was nominated for the 2019 WSHA Rural Quality ~ Everyday Extraordinary Award, which recognizes outstanding process improvement by a health system. Submissions will once more be accepted starting in 2020. The award is presented annually at the WSHA/AWPHD Rural Hospital Leadership Conference in Chelan. Questions can be directed to Sue Bergmann at Congratulations to Kittitas Valley Healthcare for its nomination!


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