Friday, July 6, 2012

A Model of Improvement

We’ve been holding employee blood drives at GBMC in partnership with the American Red Cross for more than a dozen years – a lot of people have worked very hard on these drives and many people have been helped because of them. But our most recent drive in June is cause for celebration.

Back in April, our blood bank leaders alerted me to the fact that Maryland was a net importer of blood from other states because we do not collect enough donated blood from our region to meet our own needs. In addition, they told me that GBMC was not meeting its own goals for units of blood collected and that we were not doing as well as some other Maryland hospitals. If your loved one needs blood, you expect that the system has the blood ready for your loved one. And I was also made aware that our lack of meeting targeted goals for blood donations had a significant negative financial impact on GBMC.

GBMC is a member of the Colonial Regional Alliance, a healthcare purchasing collaborative, and is grouped with two other hospitals in regional blood collection efforts. If the group meets an annual goal in units of blood collected, a significant discount is earned on the total price of our blood products. Heading into GBMC’s June 21st blood drive – the last one of the quarter among these regional hospitals – the group was projected to be well short of the overall goal.

Now here is the reason for the celebration - through the efforts of many GBMC was able to reach and surpass our goal!  How did GBMC accomplish this?  We redesigned the system.

Kim Davenport, our Community Relations and Events Manager, has been working extremely hard on our blood drives but it was apparent to me that she was not getting all of the help that she needed, so we formalized a new Team called the Blood Donations Improvement Team. The Team reviewed our most recent performance in units of blood collected per drive. It appeared that we had not done things very differently over the past few years in running the drives (and the outcome was too dependent on the work of a few) and our results were varying around 60 units of blood per drive (with the most recent drive in February of this year resulting in 58 units collected). The Team concluded that to reach our goal of 85 units we had to do things differently.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) uses the Model for Improvement as a framework for accelerating change.

Our Team decided to use this tool. It was clear that our Aim was to collect more blood. We were fortunate in having a metric of success that we had been collecting routinely (the number of units of blood donated). We then needed to study what had worked elsewhere (so we didn’t recreate the wheel). We made a list of what was known to work to increase donations and created a “change package” of things that our team could try.

Our “change package” included increasing the visibility of senior leadership, identifying department recruiters who would be charged with asking colleagues to donate blood, because we learned from the American Red Cross that many people would donate blood but are never asked.  We also increased signage and raffled off a lunch for two with me - congratulations to Dana Hack, clinical pharmacist in Oncology Services, who won the raffle!

After picking the things that we would try we planned our drive. On the date of the drive we tested our changes (the “do” in the model). We have now got our results (the “study” in the model). And we will “act” on what we learned to plan our next drive.

So how did we do? …..drum roll please…. at our June blood drive, we collected 124 units, more than double the previous average!  We had to turn people away because we were so crowded!

Because of the successful blood drive, GBMC will realize an additional $7,500 in savings on blood products this quarter.  If we continue with successful blood drives, we can earn more than $20,000 in additional savings. And more importantly, we have helped at least another 44 or so loved ones.

The next blood drives will be held on Wednesday, September 19 and Tuesday, November 20, 2012 in the Civiletti Conference Center.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank those who stepped up to the plate as Blood Donation Improvement Team members and/or Recruiters and helped play a big role in our success!  - Jeff Biedronski, Reggie Bodnar, Nora Brunner, Bud Butler, Carolyn Candiello, Pat Caudle, Fred Chan, M.D., Aaron Charles, M.D., Peggy Collier, Kim Davenport, Tim Doran, M.D., Sue Erickson, Sandy Fahrman, Lisa Frank, Ceil Gayhardt, Susan Gueiss, Mike Hartnett, Kathleen Hider, Dave Hynson, Lori Kantziper, Justine Kellar, Treva Kosco, Judie Kusiolek, Karleen Lombard, C.J. Marbley, Barbara Messing, Brittany Miles, Anita Petri, Ken Rutkowski, Jonathan Schoemann, Lin Simon, Janis Smith, Eva Stone and Dan Tesch.

Also, a special thanks goes out to all those who took the leap and became a first-time blood donor! We’d also like to thank those individuals who are long-time, repeat blood donors. Your efforts do not go unnoticed!

On another note, summer is definitely upon us!  Last week’s temperatures surpassed 100 degrees and that coupled with power outages in our community made it very uncomfortable.

When the hot weather hits, GBMC’s Red Day Alert goes into effect, during which staff and visitors may notice some non-essential lights turned off and a slight indoor temperature increase in non-critical areas.  This is a commitment by the organization to reduce our peak electrical load on critical summer days, which will reduce our environmental impact as well as our operative expenses.

I’d also ask that on such days staff take additional steps to “be green”, such as

  • Turning off lights in unused/vacant rooms
  • Turning off PC’s at the end of the workday
  • Not obstructing air registers
  • Pulling shades on windows to shield sunlight
  • Not letting hot water taps run

I was grateful on Wednesday evening when power was returned to our home. I spent most of the weekend at GBMC because I was the Administrator on Call and the storm left us without power in our “out” buildings. The hospital was fine but we were on emergency power generation at the Gilchrist Center and in our Pavilions. Clinical care was not compromised (except that our MRI scanning was out). A sincere thank you to all who stepped up to the plate to help us get through this, but especially to Dan Tesch, Mike Forthman, and our facilities folks, Mike Hartnett from Marketing, and to Sue Bowen and CJ Marbley and their staffs for helping us plan for the week after PPW and the Women’s Surgical Center had been without power for about 8 hours on Saturday thus affecting the surgery schedule for Monday. Also, the Towson Gilchrist Center did a marvelous job of dealing with the lack of air conditioning for over 40 hours! They went above and beyond to keep their patients and family members as comfortable as possible. And a final word of thanks to all of our GBMC people who came to work to help others when they may have been without power in their homes!

1 comment:

  1. As a blood donor for over 25 yrs, I was personally very pleased to read how well the last blood drive went and that many first time donors participated. I am also very proud of how the GBMC team came together and surpassed even past goals. Giving blood is a simple way to save up to 3 people's lives and for me it's a simple way of giving back to the community.

    I also wanted to add a comment about the power outage that affected many of our campus locations. One such area, however wasn't mentioned and only just got powered restored this past Monday (7/9) -- the Warehouse and Print Shop. This building went without ANY power source other than flashlights for many days days and then was on a generator for core activities for several more days. All of this activity occured during record heat and humidity. Yet, this team didn't miss any supply deliveries to the hospital. That in and of itself is commendable and demonstrates the dedication this team has to serving our clinicians and patients.

    Also, I would be remiss to forget that the next day after the storm swept through the region, on June 30th, the Materials Management team was previously scheduled and held their fiscal year end inventory on time and in the dark, with no lights, no power, no a/c -- nothing but flashlights and the determination to get the inventory done on time to meet end of year financial activties. On such a sweltering day, a team of approximately 15 people worked by flashlight counting items like fireflies in the night. All under the leadership of Jim Duerr, Corporate Director Materials Management, and Kevin Edwards, Warehouse Supervisor. Our results were impressive yet our dedication to continuing this effort despite substantial odds was even more impressive.

    Commendation goes out to our Print Shop team as well. Gary Jones did an excellent job of triaging critical print jobs and handling the workload at off-site emergency printing locations.

    More evidence that teamwork pays off and demonstrates the level of commitment the employees of GBMC have towards serving one another and our community.


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