But take a look anyway, if you have an interest in process improvement in hospitals. This is a collection of my best posts on this topic.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Caller-Outer of the Month Award #6

Speaking of residents, our Board of Directors today presented this month's Caller-Outer of the Month Award to Adam Fein, MD, a second year medical resident. Regular readers will recall that this award is presented by the Board to reinforce the underlying concept of BIDMC SPIRIT -- that each person should be encouraged to call out problems in the workplace and be recognized and appreciated for his or her contribution to safety, quality, efficiency, and a better work environment.

One of the annoying things about leaving a hospital is that the discharge process often takes a long time, leading to frustration for both patients and families. Adam diagnosed a source of those delays: The residents who were arranging follow-up appointments with hospital-based specialists were calling each specialist's office one at a time. This discharge step was often the lowest priority for residents: After all, patients who were still sick and needed care would instead get their attention. Meanwhile, the healthier patients waiting to be discharged would, in fact, be waiting for the resident to make those follow-up appointments.

As it turns out, we have a service for referring physicians in the community who need to make appointments with our specialists. They send in their request to a centralized referral command center ("RefComm"), where a nurse acts as the liaison in setting up appointments and communicating with all parties. As a result of Adam's call-out, the RefComm service center was also made available to the residents. Instead of making all the follow-up arrangements themselves, they simply send an electronic request to the folks at RefComm, who take care of things. This frees up the residents to carry out their doctoring duties and accelerates the discharge planning process.

Adam received a congratulatory letter, plus second row dugout tickets to a Red Sox game of his choice.

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