Quality

Collaboration Leads to Reduction in Low-Risk, First-Birth C-sections

Posted on Apr 17, 2019 in Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Quality, Scroll Images, Women's Services

By Katarina Lannér-Cusin, M.D., administrative medical director, Women’s Services, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

 

BERKELEY, Calif. – One of the advantages that an integrated healthcare delivery network like Sutter Health has is that its clinicians are able to improve quality by studying the experience and practice patterns of fellow clinicians. An example of this is our work to support vaginal delivery by reducing the rate of cesarean sections for low-risk, first-time births.

Katarina Lannér-Cusin, M.D., Administrative Medical Director, Women’s Services, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center

Sutter Health’s low-risk, first-birth C-section rate is among the lowest in California, with nine hospitals receiving recognition in 2017. Sutter’s average rate of 21.2 percent is lower than the state’s Healthy People 2020 target of 23.9 percent and the 2016 California Maternity Quality Care Collaborative target of 22.2 percent.
Sutter’s integrated network enables sharing of best practices and real-time data for continual process and quality improvement, which allows the network to outperform state and national averages in many quality measures and improve outcomes for the communities it serves. Sutter hospitals are leaders in California in lowering C-section rates—notably low-risk, first-birth C-section rates.

Sutter is a member of the California Maternity Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC), a multi-stakeholder organization committed to ending preventable morbidity, mortality and racial health disparities in California. Partnering with CMQCC and the California Health Care Foundation, Sutter is leading a labor culture campaign to proactively educate first-time mothers about C-sections and encourage them to engage with their care teams to support vaginal birth and avoid C-sections for low-risk pregnancies.

There are several key drivers that have been instrumental to achieve real progress in decreasing C-section rates in the Sutter network of care.

• The first and most important driver is effective communication and teamwork—a joint commitment by the clinical team (nurses, midwife and physician) to create a great supportive environment for patients.

• The second driver is alignment on best practices for labor support, including collaborative labor management and education. Sutter adopted a checklist in labor and delivery that establishes parameters clinicians need to complete before deciding on a C-section. The teams work collaboratively using the checklist to ensure that all best practices for supporting a vaginal birth have been implemented. Additionally, labor support education has been developed for nurses, midwives and physicians.

• The third driver is maternal agency—a birth preference sheet was created to educate new mothers about choices they make that may increase their likelihood of a vaginal delivery and give them the opportunity to talk with their physician or midwife about these choices before birth.

• Finally, a large component of lowering low-risk, first-time birth C-section rates is the open sharing of physician-level rates among peers. This transparency creates the opportunity for dialogue and shared learning among clinicians. Each group is encouraged to discuss these rates internally and come up with a plan to address any issues uncovered by the data.

Sutter Health is working to ensure that every patient receives the highest quality maternity care for herself and for her baby. For more information, please visit Pregnancy and Childbirth Services.

Dr. Steve Lockhart Honored for Skill and Service

Posted on Apr 11, 2019 in People, Quality, Scroll Images, Uncategorized

Sutter’s Chief Medical Officer Stephen H. Lockhart, M.D., Ph.D., has received a Distinguished Alumni Award from National Medical Fellowships (NMF). The award honors Dr. Lockhart for his commitment to improve healthcare and his passion for humanitarian work.

“Your leadership at Sutter Health, along with your wide-ranging experience as a healthcare administrator, academic achievements and remarkable philanthropic work, particularly your inspiring efforts in Haiti, make you a true role model and someone our young scholars should emulate as professionals,” wrote Esther R. Dyer, M.D., NMF president & CEO, in a letter to Dr. Lockhart.

NMF honors individuals who have made a lasting impact on healthcare and in the communities they serve. NMF is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships and support for underrepresented minority students pursuing a career in medicine or the health professions.

NMF is the only national association solely dedicated to providing scholarships and support to students across all minority groups underrepresented in healthcare. NMF scholars come from low-income, minority, immigrant, urban and rural communities and demonstrate financial need.

NMF improves access to quality healthcare in medically underserved communities by increasing diversity the healthcare workforce. Learn more at www.nmfonline.org.

 

 

Memorial Hospital Los Banos Awarded Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers

Posted on Apr 11, 2019 in Quality, Scroll Images

LOS BANOS, Calif.—Memorial Hospital Los Banos has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Heart-Check mark for Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers. The Gold Seal of Approval® and the Heart-Check mark represent symbols of quality from their respective organizations.

“This is a very meaningful milestone for our community and our clinical care teams,” said Tushar Patel, M.D., medical director for stroke at Memorial Hospital Los Banos. “Our community can have confidence and peace of mind in knowing that exceptional stroke care is available here, thanks to the time and hard work invested by our staff.”

Memorial Hospital Los Banos, which is a part of Sutter Health’s not-for-profit, integrated network, underwent a rigorous onsite review last March. Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with stroke-related standards and requirements, including program management, the delivery of clinical care and performance improvement.

“Memorial Hospital Los Banos has thoroughly demonstrated the greatest level of commitment to the care of stroke patients through its Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers,” said Patrick Phelan, executive director, Hospital Business Development, The Joint Commission. “We commend their teams for becoming a leader in stroke care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for stroke patients in its community.”

“We congratulate Memorial Hospital Los Banos for achieving this designation,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “By adhering to this very specific set of treatment guidelines Memorial Hospital Los Banos has clearly made it a priority to deliver high quality care to all patients affected by stroke.”

Established in 2003, Advanced Certification for Primary Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals. The certification was derived from the Brain Attack Coalition’s “Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers” (JAMA, 2000) and the “Revised and Updated Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers” (Stroke, 2011).

Stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year. Memorial Hospital Los Banos’ certification comes just in time for May, which is National Stroke Awareness Month.

Inspirational Rock Inspires Police Officer to Give Back for Cancer Care

Posted on Mar 29, 2019 in People, Quality, Scroll Images, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Medical Foundation, Uncategorized

Sutter radiation oncologist Sharon Dutton, M.D., holds one of the Auburn Police Department Pink Patches and Lt. Michael Garlock shows off his cherished polished rock that says “Faith.”

AUBURN, Calif. – Lt. Michael Garlock of the Auburn Police Department cherishes the inspirational polished rock he chose when he completed his cancer treatment at the Sutter ROC – or Radiation Oncology Center – in Auburn. To show his gratitude, he established a Pink Patch campaign with the proceeds going to purchase more rocks and provide other services for Auburn-area cancer patients.

Lt. Garlock was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in January 2018. While receiving his radiation treatments at the Sutter Medical Foundation Radiation Oncology Center on Bell Road in Auburn, he noticed those that completed their treatments got to choose a polished rock with an inspirational word on it.

“I remember thinking, I can’t wait until I get my rock,” he said. “It gave me hope that I can do this, that I can beat this.”

After 15 treatments, he chose the right rock for him, one that said “Faith.” Now in remission, Lt. Garlock assisted in getting the Auburn Police Department to participate in the Pink Patch Project. The Auburn Police Department officers union donated the funds to purchase patches that have a pink outline, and members of the community purchased them for $5 apiece during the month of October.

The donations were to go toward cancer patients, and Lt. Garlock decided the best use of the funds was to go to the Sutter Auburn ROC because he was struck by the compassion of the staff and the personal care  provided at a time when he was feeling most vulnerable.

Lt. Garlock received his radiation care in the Sutter Auburn ROC’s Linear Accelerator Room, where he poses with the ROC staff.

“The staff here has a genuine sincerity and a genuine caring for everyone to heal,” Lt. Garlock said. “I can’t say enough about this place.”

On Thursday, March 28, Lt. Garlock donated all the proceeds of the monthlong campaign — $365 — to the Sutter ROC in Auburn to purchase more rocks for patients and for other patient needs.

“Seeing these rocks gave me hope,” Lt. Garlock said. “If that’s what gives other patients hope, then I hope this donation buys a lot of rocks.”

The donation was made by Lt. Garlock to radiation oncologist Sharon Dutton, M.D., radiation therapist Carlos DelPozo, Regional Area Director Nancy Mathai, and the rest of the staff at the Sutter Auburn ROC.

“Our patients come from all over this upper I-80 corridor, many of whom don’t have a lot of services to help them get to treatment, so donations like this are really a blessing in their lives,” said Dr. Dutton. “To have a graduate of our oncology program doing so well and giving back, I think that gives people a lot of hope when they come into our center that they’re also going to get through it.”

These rocks gave Lt. Garlock hope as he went through a monthlong radiation regimen.

Lt. Garlock made the donation just days before heading out on a 10-week FBI training in Virginia. After making the donation, he told the staff that he cherishes his Faith rock and that he’ll keep it forever.

“In fact,” he said, “I think I’ll take it with me to Virginia.”

For those who would like to purchase a patch, the Auburn Police Department hopes to make the Pink Patch campaign an annual one, with patch sales starting again in October.

Sutter Health, Suki Introduce Digital Voice Assistant to Support Patient Care

Posted on Mar 26, 2019 in Quality, Scroll Images, Transformation

AI-powered, voice-enabled tool integrates vital information into patients’ electronic health records to maximize clinician time with patients

 

SACRAMENTO and REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The not-for-profit Sutter Health network announced today that it is teaming up with Suki to pilot an artificial intelligence-powered, voice-enabled digital assistant with doctors in Northern California. Suki uses a combination of voice commands from a physician and context in which they are operating, to create a clinically accurate note that is then pushed to an electronic health record (EHR) system—enhancing the quality of care and creating greater efficiencies.

“Maximizing the amount of time clinicians spend with patients while reducing the documentation burden on our clinicians is a strategic and tactical priority,” said Howard Landa, M.D., vice president of clinical informatics and EHR for Sutter Health. “Personalized care paired with digital assistant tools will enhance care delivery and have a positive impact on health outcomes for our consumers, which is what really matters.”

Sutter will initially introduce Suki into three clinical practice areas—primary care, dermatology and orthopedics. Over time with use, Suki can distill a doctor’s conversation with a patient into an actionable plan, based on the doctor’s known preferences and clinical practice guidelines.

A doctor can tell Suki, “I did my typical diabetes counseling” for a patient, and Suki knows how to create relevant content for the note—and the resulting note is tuned not only to the doctor’s medical specialty, but also to their own vocabulary and style. This type of support can lend to streamlined documentation inside the patient’s EHR, which can help create the most appropriate care plans for patients. The overall care experience also can improve as more time is freed up from administrative tasks—giving patients and providers more one-on-one time during visits.

While Suki launched in May 2018, results from one-year pilots across multiple specialties show up to a 70 percent reduction in the amount of time physicians spend on medical notes. (In comparison, for every hour of direct clinical facetime with a patient, physicians spend nearly two additional hours on medical paperwork). Today, Suki is used five days per week across the country, working with three different EHR systems and seven medical specialties, and accounting for more than 1,000 patient interactions every week.

“We are excited to work with Sutter network doctors to help ease the burden of administrative work like medical charting and to give doctors time back in their day. Through this collaboration, we will expand our footprint into new specialties, allowing Suki to master new skills from one of the most tech-savvy health systems in the country,” said Punit Soni, Suki’s CEO and co-founder.

With this new collaboration, Suki will continue building on the amount of time it saves physicians by capturing high-quality medical notes for patient encounters, and work with the Sutter Health network to build a data layer on top of these notes that will not only reduce the documentation burden but also attack other interesting use cases like clinical decision support.

Your Gifts Help Us Bring the Emergency Department to the Patient

Posted on Mar 20, 2019 in Expanding Access, Innovation, Mills-Peninsula Health Services, Quality, Research, Scroll Images

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of adult disability, affecting 800,000 people a year. Time is critical for people who experience a stroke—every minute saves 2 million brain cells.

 

Every minute counts when treating a patient who has had a stroke. Donor support for the Mobile Stroke Unit gives us the tools to help ensure that patients in our community not only survive, but also avoid the debilitating effects of a stroke. Through a research trial this project will also help to inform best practices in stroke treatment nationwide —impacting the care of thousands.

The Mills-Peninsula Hospital Foundation has launched a $2.4 million fundraising campaign to underwrite the cost of operating the Unit for the first 2 years, while a randomized controlled trial is conducted to gauge the effectiveness of the program compared to conventional care.

Invest in the Mobile Stroke Unit.

Preliminary studies have indicated that a Mobile Stroke Unit can reduce the time from ambulance dispatch to treatment to as little as 11 minutes. Sutter Health affiliated Mills-Peninsula Medical Center is the only hospital in Northern California and one of only two hospitals in the state to have a Mobile Stroke Unit.