The CHT Learning Laboratory
The Center for Health Transformation currently has more than two dozen pilot programs in different stages of testing or evaluation in the Learning Laboratory.
Sepsis: Early Recognition and Treatment
This study is championed by WellStar’s Pulmonary Service Line Chief Dr. Alan Muster. This multidisciplinary team is examining the implementation of an evidence based Sepsis bundle, tied to a computer based decision support module and treatment regimen. The goals are centered on beginning appropriate sepsis treatment within 3 hours of arrival. These involve operationalizing the appropriate screening and lab testing, computer assisted antibiotic selection and appropriate care level intensity. The ultimate goal is to reduce sepsis mortality through early recognition and intervention, with a secondary goal of reducing the associated cost per case and length of stay.
Door to Balloon Reduction Initiative
The nationally recognized quality goal for patients experiencing a STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction) is to achieve reopening of the obstructed coronary vessel within 90 minutes of arrival to the hospital. A group of caregivers, led by Cardio-Vascular Medicine (CVM) Associates, a cardiology practice within WellStar Medical Group, is taking this challenge even farther.
David Bloomquist, a CVM Project Manager is leading a LEAN workgroup, who are testing processes that will shorten the time from onset of symptoms to vessel opening in less than 50 minutes. This involves a complete redirection of resources toward community education, enhanced EMS training, and increased interdepartmental cooperation with an overhaul of established workflows.
Inpatient Glycemic Control Initiative
Both the ADA and the ACP have published studies that advocate the use of Basal Bolus Correction as the current best practice for glycemic control for hospitalized non-ketotic hyperglycemic patients. Since EBM studies have shown this to be the most effective treatment, why are so many admitting physicians choosing alternative means of glycemic control for patients with blood glucose readings > 180mg/dl?
Dr. Tom McNamara, the Vice President of Medical Affairs at WellStar Cobb Hospital, is currently operationalizing a plan, developed in partnership with the Quality Assurance Division of Sanofi, which focuses on nurse and physician education, workflow changes, process mapping and innovative measurement tools to improve glycemic control. Unique to this collaborative, however, is the multivariate approach to solving the practical reasons why many physicians order regimens different than the Basal Bolus Correction. These issues include the timing of meal delivery on the floor, the continuity of post-acute specialist care and the comparative effectiveness of alternative treatment choices.
WellStar’s Green Initiative Creates Opportunity to Lower Costs for Area Hospitals
In 2013, WellStar won the prestigious Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention as a result of several “Green Initiatives”. One such improvement involved engaging the Milnor CBW tunnel washer and AquaRecycle system. The successful modernization of WellStar’s centralized laundry facility for its five hospitals has cut the services energy use by 50% and resulted in an 85% reduction in water consumption.
The upgrades have not only lowered WellStar’s costs, but also allowed the system to utilize these savings and an additional capacity, to offer competitive rate laundry services to other local health care organizations. In a prime example of how collaborative efforts can reduce health care expenditures, WellStar’s program can offer linen services to these outside organizations at a lower cost than would be possible from investing in and operating their own internal facilities.
According to Walter Grueninger, Executive Director of Supply Chain Operations, the economies of scale made possible by the upgraded OSHA certified equipment, negate the need for partnering health care systems to bear the expense of purchasing and maintaining their own facilities. Partner systems can also take advantage of WellStar’s advanced logistics and transport capabilities to ensure that delivery is customized to suit their hospital’s individual needs.
For more information contact Walter Grueninger at (470)644-0228.
Futura mHealth SmartScope Mobile Application
WellStar has partnered with Futura mHealth to deploy the latest technology known as SmartScope. This new mobile system allows real-time chronic disease monitoring through a user friendly web based platform.
Enrolled patients enter daily signs and symptoms questions on their smart phone application. This information is then processed through a proprietary algorithm and workflow which provides an early alert to the medical team, and triggers interventions, if necessary, designed to keep the patient healthy and out of the hospital.
Piedmont-WellStar Health Plan
January 1st 2014 marked the first operational day of the Piedmont-WellStar Health Plan
product for its 11,500 employees and their dependents. Although self-insured for many years, the PWP represents an innovation in not only the assumption of the financial risk, but also in the administrative management of the health care for the employees of the two health systems. WellStar has leveraged their considerable experience in population health management from developing its ACO into building a comprehensive set of insurance products that rival other commercial offerings. The investments in this area set the stage for additional solutions and expansion into Medicare Advantage products and small group policies which had been the exclusive purview of large national health insurance plans.
Tele-Health Pilot Uses Remote Monitoring to Prevent Readmissions
WellStar's Heart Failure Resource Center has begun a pilot program utilizing the Philips Telehealth Solutions - Remote Home Monitoring System. Enrolled patients are provided with specialized equipment and training in which clinicians can remotely monitor patients' vital signs data and send them short surveys about their health status. This combination of objective data such as weight, blood pressure and oxygen levels, combined with subjective responses to health status questions enables the clinician to make more timely care decisions and helps prevent unnecessary hospitalizations.
Where Trends Meet – A Practical Innovation into How the Trend towards Personalized Medicine and 3D Printing Technology have been Applied at WellStar
3D printing is a type of additive manufacturing technique that is recognized to have enormous untapped potential in the health care market. Medical researchers at Princeton University and Johns Hopkins are currently using a 3D bio-printing process which deposit layers of living stem cells onto a carbohydrate matrix to create new living tissue organs. Other teams are investigating new high tensile strength polymers and materials such as titanium to create articulating hip and knee joints that are custom fitted based on the individual patients anatomy. WellStar Health System, a fast growing and vibrant community based healthcare system in the metropolitan Atlanta area, tasked its Center for Health Transformation to examine more practical uses for this emerging technology. The use case that was selected by WellStar was to create an automated process by which patients with forearm injuries such as radial/ulnar fractures could be automatically scanned, and fitted with a 3D printed cast that is customized to the individual patient’s anatomical structure. In order to accomplish this, WellStar’s CHT capitalized on its ongoing relationship with the Georgia Tech, School of Mechanical Engineering, sponsoring a team of senior students and faculty advisors to work with CHT in creating a prototype solution.