MultiCare Health System is Pierce County's largest private employer, with more than 9,000 employees who live and work in the region. One of the ways MultiCare honors the contributions of our employees is through MultiCare's annual President's Awards.
The President’s Awards, which began in 1989, give us the opportunity to shine the spotlight on our co-workers and colleagues who have risen above the every day and delivered exceptional teamwork and innovative approaches to quality patient care. Those we honor are among our best and brightest.
Each of these projects required a high level of teamwork, initiative, focus, and commitment. Best of all, they tell the stories of success achieved by teams who embraced change, who rose to the challenge, and who asked, "How can we make a difference for our patients and our community?"
Excellence in Clinical Outcomes
Winner: Introduction of Hypertonic Saline in Pediatric Acute Viral Bronchiolitis
Viral bronchiolitis is an acute viral infection of the lower airways, found mostly in children less than 2. It is the most common cause for infant hospitalization and, to date, there are no good treatment options for the virus besides supportive care.
In 2008, analysis of recent research into the use of a 3 percent hypertonic saline solution to treat viral bronchiolitis led the Inpatient Pediatric Services group at Mary Bridge to begin a step-by-step approach to adding this medication to our treatment regimen, in children under 2 years of age.
By the 2009-2010 season, benefits realized from this change in treatment protocol include:
• A decrease in overall length of stay from 72.2 hours (3.01 days) in 2007-2008 (our baseline year), to 63.6 hours (2.65 days) in 2009-2010.
• A decrease in the number of albuterol doses by 223 in 2009-2010
• A reduction in the number of patients who received more than one dose of albuterol from 62 percent to 24 percent.
These results are all the more significant given that we experienced a 24 percent increase in patients diagnosed with bronchiolitis during the 2009-2010 season.
Excellence in Innovation
Winner: Gait MyoElectric Stimulator System to Improve Walking
Researchers at Good Samaritan Children’s Therapy Unit (CTU) Movement Laboratory collaborated with the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation to invent, develop, field test and patent a Gait MyoElectric Stimulator (GMES) to help adults with stroke walk efficiently. This one-of-a-kind outcome project was the first stroke research project to be funded by the Hillard Foundation, represents stellar contributions by the research team and validates collaboration with multiple resources within MultiCare and beyond.
The GMES system uses electrical stimulation delivered precisely to key leg muscles with each step to stimulate the muscles to approximate normal walking. Testing by the project team demonstrated a clear benefit for patients using this system to improve their walking strength and stamina.
The patent for the GMES system — the first patent to be awarded to a MultiCare employee — was granted in July 2010 and the GMES system will be re-designed for commercial distribution, including for use to help children with cerebral palsy.
Excellence in Patient Safety
Winner: Bedside Barcoding
The majority of medication errors in the hospital occur when the wrong medication is given at the patient’s bedside.
Bedside barcoding medication administration at MultiCare Health System was strategically designed as part of an integrated medication safety program. The project involved diverse stakeholders coordinating implementation at all four hospitals and involved steps such as bedside scanner selection, barcode design, workflow design, education support, drug product selection and coordination and Epic integration across all four hospitals.
The initial go-live was a pilot at Allenmore Hospital. The next steps involved a massive roll-out week by week of select nursing units at Tacoma General, Mary Bridge and Good Samaritan Hospitals throughout winter and spring 2010.
National benchmarks are not yet established for bedside barcoding compliance. Published rates from other institutions are in the 90+percent range. A comparison of other Epic clients demonstrated outstanding performance by MultiCare. Three months after implementation MultiCare demonstrated 93.5 percent for medication scanning compared to 88.3 percent at other Epic client sites.
Excellence in Community Partnerships
Winner: Safe Kids King County South
The Mary Bridge Center for Childhood Safety (CFCS) started a Safe Kids coalition in Pierce County in 1988 —a group of organizations whose goal is to reduce accidental injury to children through education, advocacy and best practice programming.
But families in South King County continued to have limited access to injury prevention programs such as car seat inspections, low-cost life jackets and bike helmets, and accidental injury rates were high.
So in 2005, CFCS established Safe Kids King County South.
Before Safe Kids King County South, car seat inspections in South King County were virtually non-existent. Today, there is at least one car seat inspection offering per week, with 1,000 South King County families having car seats inspected annually.
Safe Kids King County South also
- Created and implemented other child passenger safety programs
- Developed sleep safety educational materials
- Participates in many Safe Kids Worldwide campaigns, such as Walk This Way Pedestrian Safety and the Distracted Driver Campaign.
Excellence in Efficient Use of Resources
Winner: Linen Services are Lean
MultiCare’s Linen Services currently processes and delivers approximately 7 million pounds of linen yearly from an on-premise laundry (OPI). Since 2004 our customer base has grown by 6.5 percent yearly with the addition of only 3 productive FTEs, no additional space or equipment — and all while maintaining 100 percent productivity overall and a total cost per pound of approximately 40 cents —around 20 cents per pound below the Western Average.
The benefits of Linen Services’ Lean processes, which were in place long before the system-wide Lean effort, include:
- Cross-training employees to reduce the use of agency coverage for vacations and staffing vacancies
- Daily monitoring and tracking of many variables to keep a tighter the handle on savings from our water reclaim system, appropriate chemical usage, and adjustments of standing linen orders
- Sending monthly usage reports to customers, as well as offering educational resources to help achieve best practices in all units
- A 1.4 million dollar estimated savings between OPL and outsourcing operational expenses
- Nearly 175,000 dollars saved in Linen Utilization compared to National Best Practices.
Excellence in Customer Service
Winner: Maple Valley Health Home Project
The Maple Valley MultiCare Clinic was recognized as a Patient Centered Health Home in January 2010. The purpose of the health home is to create a primary-care team that is responsible for coordinating a continuous stream of care for patients across the continuum of medical care, ranging from preventive primary services to complex acute care services.
The most important benefit from the Maple Valley health home is providing expanded and continued support to patients. The clinic has a number of new programs that are designed to incorporate enhanced patient engagement and facilitate a better “whole being” approach to health care. This dynamic approach has proved to be successful in both patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.
Some measures of the benefits of the Maple Valley Health Home pilot include:
- Patients using MyChart increased by 543
- HA1C baseline was 63 percent and is now 85.70 percent, an increase of 22.70 percent
- Blood pressure readings ≤ 140/90 baseline increased 13 percent to 76 percent
- Patient satisfactions scores have increased 12.1 percent.
Excellence in Total Quality
Winner: Comprehensive Cancer Care in Tacoma
A cancer diagnosis becomes a full-time and life-consuming event. Every person with a cancer diagnosis should be supported by their health system in a way that allows them to focus on nothing more than their healing.
In March 2010 MultiCare Regional Cancer Center opened the doors to Tacoma's first truly comprehensive cancer center.
Some of the unique features of our new Cancer Center include:
- A comprehensive scope of coordinated services at one location, including Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Infusion, Pharmacy, Laboratory, Rehabilitation, bra/prosthetic fitting, Makeup and wig consultations, and massage.
- Small Pods and Suites of treatment areas that create a feeling of being in a small, personal clinic.
- Enhanced technology with expanded treatment options in Radiation Oncology, including CyberKnife.
- An environment that creates a sense of calm and quiet, even on the busiest days.
- Coordination of all combined services that are going to be needed by a patient over the course of treatment, including secondary services such as massage.
Benefits achieved with the new cancer care so far include:
- From baseline to third quarter 2010, an increase of Medical Oncology’s top box score from 56 to 66 percent.
- An increase in Radiation Oncology’s top box scores during that same time from 37 to 77 percent.
- A decrease in time from initial visit request to initial treatment from 9 days to 4-5 days.