Sharing to Enhance Caring
Adventist Health believes there is strength in numbers. Its distinctive mission and vision coupled with strong leadership and organizational structure is an advantage to its 18 hospitals, 14 home care agencies and various clinics. It also enables them to better serve their communities and extend the Seventh-day Adventist health care legacy.
"Our facilities-and ultimately our patients-benefit from our collective strength and emphasis on quality," said Robert G. Carmen, president and CEO of Adventist Health. "As a system that continually seeks to enhance its ability to serve, we boast many shared services, including a centralized cash management program, pooled purchasing and a state-of-the-art clinical information system, to name a few."
Read on to discover some of the ways that Adventist Health is working to ensure that communities up and down the West Coast are impacted by exceptional health care with a heart.
Keeping Hospitals Stocked and Safe
There's a reason why people shop in bulk: more for less. Adventist Health has this concept down to a science, thanks to the Corporate Materiels Management Department.
"Through our materiels management program, Adventist Health is able to provide economies of scale to its member entities and affiliates-including Leoni Meadows and several Adventist schools-thus cutting costs for supplies, equipment, food and an array of other items," said Lowell Church, assistant vice president of Corporate Materiels Management. "This enables small rural hospitals to access pricing for which they would not otherwise be eligible and proves to be a cost-savings win-win for facilities and patients alike."
Under the umbrella of materiels management is a unique department dubbed Clinical Engineering Services, which maintains all hospital-related medical equipment. From patient scales to MRI scanners, CES specializes in the preventative maintenance and repair of medical equipment and systems. Biomedical equipment technicians work one-on-one with devices and clinical engineers to help plan and assess new technology. Together, they keep the hospitals running safely.
"Adventist Health's CES department is unique as most facilities outsource the work," stated Church. In fact, until nine years ago, system hospitals contracted for maintenance independently, often through multiple equipment vendors. The cost was immense.
Today-thanks to the CES and materials management departments-Adventist Health has streamlined supply ordering, equipment repairs and maintenance: all adding up to hearty savings for both hospitals and patients.
Enhancing Quality Through Research and Teamwork
Another area where Adventist Health's "systemness" is evident is in the quality and research arena. Each year, the facilities participate in numerous state, federal and other quality initiatives in an effort to meet regulatory requirements and provide the best possible health care to patients. Recently, Adventist Health teamed up with Johns Hopkins Quality and Safety Research Group on two groundbreaking projects.
Currently, the system is working with Johns Hopkins on a Culture of Teamwork and Safety Improvement program. Launched in January 2008, the project-which includes all system hospitals-engages frontline staff in identifying specific areas of concern and providing recommendations for how they can improve teamwork and safety, which positively impact patient care outcomes.
Furthermore, 10 Adventist Health ICUs recently concluded a focused study with a goal of eliminating central-line associated bloodstream infections. Not only was the project designed to improve clinical outcomes but it also aimed to enhance the overall culture of safety. Significant efforts were made toward achieving the goal of zero central line infections. Many facilities had no central line infections for several months, and the hospitals continue to use the study protocols.
"As a system we're eligible to partner with research groups like Johns Hopkins," stated Diane Hoyt, RN, director of Quality and Outcomes Management for Adventist Health. "These initiatives give all our facilities-big and small-access to quality data and proven best practices, both of which enhance patient care."
Leveraging Technology to Provide Better Care
Quality isn't the only area where Adventist Health seeks to excel. The system also places a huge emphasis on technology. In an age where cell phones have replaced home phones and people can access e-mail and the web via PDAs and iPhones, it stands to reason that hospitals would take a closer look at how to leverage technology.
In 2003, the health care system launched Project IntelliCare, a state-of-the-art clinical information system. The technology, which is now available in all system hospitals, is enhancing the health care experience for both patients and caregivers. First and foremost, Project IntelliCare is designed to improve patient safety. By automating multiple steps in the patient care process, it enhances documentation, decreases medical errors, improves detection of adverse events and provides guidelines, prompts and alerts based on best practices.
This year, Adventist Health continues to implement Phase III of Project IntelliCare, which includes applications for Emergency Services and Critical Care, and expanded documentation for clinicians and physicians. Among other things, Phase III also provides the opportunity for smaller hospitals to partner with larger facilities to provide tele-pharmacy.
"Thanks to Project IntelliCare, our health care is smarter and more efficient," stated Carmen. "All this translates to better care for our patients-body, mind and spirit!"
Find Out More
Everything Adventist Health does boils down to the heart of its business: making sure patients receive the best and safest care possible. Being a part of a large system provides individual facilities with more tools to accomplish this goal.
To learn more about Adventist Health-and the unique Christ-centered care it provides-visit www.adventisthealth.org to download the latest annual report. To receive a hard copy, call Corporate Communication at 916-781-4756. They're also on Facebook.