Wright-Patterson doctors, nurses improve care at hospital


Wright-Patterson Medical Center doctors and nurses have found ways to cut redundant procedures in in-patient care to reduce preventable health-related problems, authorities say.

The approach to managing the flow of work reduces the number of tasks facing doctors, nurses and clinicians and gives them more time to predict medical issues patients’ are most likely to face, officials said.

The Air Force-developed approach, in tandem with civilian researchers, is what clinicians call the “military acuity model,” which Lt. Col. Jarod Mort, a clinical nurse specialist, is credited with bringing to Wright-Patterson.

“We analyze all the areas that could potentially go wrong,” said Mort, likening it to the “Swiss cheese effect.”

“We’re trying to concentrate on those holes and plug them. By concentrating on just those few things, we can stop a huge assortment of catastrophic events early on.”

The model also provides a “minute-by-minute status” of a patient’s well-being using acuity scores based on vital signs, laboratory results and other health data, he said. If a patient appeared at high-risk for a medical problem, consultations could be scheduled with medical experts before something, such as heart failure, might occur.

The work focused on in-patients at Wright-Patterson starting in January 2014.

The failure-to-rescue rate, or the inability to stop preventable deaths, reached eight in 2013 among in-patients, and dropped to one in both 2014 and 2015 after the patient-care methods were put in place at Wright-Patterson, according to Mort.

“That was a significant improvement,” he said.

Mort, now stationed in Mississippi, credited the approach to decreasing patient stays to two days from two and a half days at Wright-Patterson. The base hospital averages about 3,400 inpatient admissions and 3,100 surgeries a year, hospital statistics show.

John Hopkins University cancer researchers in Baltimore, Md., conducting their own tests on the work-flow method reported they were able to see more patients, and help those they treated avoid return visits for preventable problems.

The study identified duties in a pancreatic cancer clinic that could be safely assigned to support staff, and the tasks, if missed or mishandled, would cost time and lead to avoidable health symptoms or might prompt emergency room visits, according to the university.

The findings led the Wright-Patterson neurology outpatient clinic to take a close look at how to balance work loads and improve patient care, two clinic doctors said.

“The goal is through prevention of task saturation you increase reliability …. and by increasing reliability you can also increase productivity,” said Dr. Aven Ford, a medical center neurologist. “The idea is you have to prevent people from getting overloaded because that’s when tasks get dropped.”

The neurology clinic made a list of “every single task that we do” to discover redundancies, said Dr. Caelen Ford, a Wright-Patterson neurologist married to Aven Ford. Both are also Air Force officers.

“What we found by looking through all this is that … tasks were getting done more than once and no one realized it,” she said. “Or one person would do a few tasks, and forget one and then someone else would have to go back and do the other one again. And the process of that redundancy started to sap away our productivity.”

“By figuring out which tasks you can fix ahead of time, you allow people to focus more on working with the patient, when the patient is there in your office,” Aven Ford said.

In time, the procedures could be rolled out to other Wright-Patterson outpatient clinics, which treat more than 300,000 patients at the base hospital every year, officials said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Chance for rain, snow showers today with gusty winds
Chance for rain, snow showers today with gusty winds

More showers arrive this morning Dry and warming up to end week More rain for weekend TODAY: Another batch of light showers off to the west will move in early this morning, said Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Showers today will mainly fall as rain, but at times a mix with wet snow flakes can occur. An accumulation isn’t expected...
Heath Ledger's sister remembers him 10 years after his death
Heath Ledger's sister remembers him 10 years after his death

Heath Ledger’s sister, Kate Ledger, is opening up about how his family is honoring his memory 10 years after his death. Kate opened up for a rare interview with WHO last week before the 10th anniversary of her brother’s Jan. 22, 2008, death. She told the publication that keeping Ledger’s memory alive in her home has...
One dead, one hospitalized after shooting in Dayton
One dead, one hospitalized after shooting in Dayton

UPDATE @ 2:40 a.m.: One person is dead and another individual was taken to Miami Valley Hospital after a shooting occurred in Dayton early Tuesday morning, according to officials. Crews were dispatched to the area of N. Upland Avenue and Fairbanks Avenue around 2 a.m. where they found two adult males, both shot with once deceased in the back of...
WPAFB Tuesday Weather: Possible passing rain, snow shower; gusty winds
WPAFB Tuesday Weather: Possible passing rain, snow shower; gusty winds

WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE— Chance of a passing rain or snow showers during the day, otherwise cloudy, blustery and cold with temperatures in the 30s, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs. Winds may gust as high as 30mph creating wind chills in the 20s. No snow accumulations expected.
Clark County Pet of the Week
Clark County Pet of the Week

Meet Dolly. She is an adorable Pit mix whose personality is the size of Texas. Dolly is playful and loving and lives for a good gossip. She enjoys her walks and playtime so much. Dolly has a favorite blanket and definitely cannot have enough toys. She does okay with most dogs, but really, is looking for a home to be pampered in by herself. Dolly is...
More Stories