Grady General Wins Award for Clinical Excellence

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Grady General Wins Award for Clinical Excellence

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Grady General Hospital was recently awarded a 2014 Leadership Award in the Clinical Excellence category for the hospital’s successful initiative to reduce early elective deliveries (EED). GGH was one of 60 hospitals to submit their best practice for the VHA Georgia award consideration, and the hospital’s submission, “Birth of a New Early Elective Delivery Rate,” won first place in the category of hospitals with 50-149 beds.

According to VHA Georgia, award winning hospitals demonstrate a sustained focus on identifying techniques for managing and thriving in a changing health care environment, while achieving triple-aim goals and reducing variability in care.

“Our team of nurses, physicians and clinical staff consistently exhibit extraordinary levels of performance by successfully implementing new improvements in our hospital,” said Crystal Ramm, director of nursing at GGH. “We’re constantly looking for new ways we can improve the care we provide our patients.”

EEDs are classified as induced or cesarean section deliveries after 37 weeks of pregnancy but before 39 completed weeks of gestation and are performed absent of medical necessity.

According to GGH Birthing Center manager Vicki Jenkins RNC-OB, BSN, reducing EED rates has been a recent topic of discussion among national quality leaders, such as the Joint Commission and the Leapfrog Group, because of the risk factors associated with the practice.

“Delivery at 37 or 38 weeks has widely been considered safe— but that’s not always the case,” said Jenkins.

Obstetrician and gynecologist Raina Ferenchick, MD, added, “Infant mortality is at least 50 percent higher for babies born at 37 or 38 weeks, compared to those born at 39 or 40. These babies are also more likely to suffer breathing, feeding and developmental problems.”

“When we started looking at this as a possible improvement project, we knew GGH didn’t have a zero percent EED rate,” said Jenkins. “But through the discovery process we were very surprised to learn we had a rate that was more than 50 percent, and this further influenced our decision to focus on this area.”

Through a multi-discipline, collaborative effort, Grady General’s team developed new policies and procedures and educated all nurses and physicians on the new protocols.

“The key reason that this process worked was because our physicians are truly invested in the success of our hospital,” said Jenkins. “When presented with factual, quantitative data and the ‘why’ behind implementation of a new policy, our entire clinical team recognized the need to reduce EEDs—because it’s what is best for our patients.”

In the past seven quarters Grady General has sustained a 0 percent EED rate, surpassing their goal of 5 percent.

“We were very pleased about our results of having a zero percent EED rate for seven consecutive quarters,” said Ramm. “Our nursing staff and physicians, along with our group working with VHA, are to be commended for not only reaching, but surpassing, our original goal of a 5 percent EED rate. We truly feel we have hardwired this change into practice and are excited to know that we are providing the best and safest care to all our OB patients.”

Grady General Hospital is one of four hospitals that compose Archbold Memorial Hospital’s health system.