PENSACOLA, FL, UNITED STATES
PENSACOLA, Fla. – This year marks the third year in a row that Naval Hospital Pensacola has received a Department of Defense Patient Safety Award. A feat that has not been accomplished by any other Military Treatment Facility in the DoD since the award’s inception in 2003.
According to the DoD Patient Safety Program website, the program fosters a culture of patient safety by promoting trust and transparency and by empowering everyone to deliver safe and reliable care to every patient. The program promotes a culture of safety to eliminate preventable patient harm by engaging, educating and equipping patient-care teams to institutionalize evidence-based safe practices.
The DoD Patient Safety Award is given to recognize efforts designed to decrease harm and improve the care delivered within the military health system. The award identifies those who have shown innovation and commitment to the development of systems and processes that are tightly organized around the needs of the patient.
Each year, MTF’s across the DoD submit projects that have been implemented in an effort to improve patient safety. The most recent award winning project submission from NHP was titled “Patient Centered Medical Home Continuity, S.O.S (Smart on Safety).”
“The big objective for [NHP] is primary care manager continuity, and we believe that that continuity, through Medical Home Port, has improved patient safety,” said April Jordon, family medicine nurse with NHP.
Continuity of care between patient and provider directly decreases rates of hospitalization, emergency room utilization and medical errors while increasing patient satisfaction and delivery of preventive services. All these combined directly improve patient safety.
“If a patient has good continuity with their provider, then they are less likely to have delays in diagnosis and more likely to get the preventative care they need for chronic diseases. Patient continuity also decreases the amount of patient hand off and the errors that can occur with that,” said Lt. Kevin Bernstein, family medicine resident at NHP. “Medical Home Port is a primary initiative for the hospital right now, so we wanted to pick a project that spoke about our command, specifically about what we do well and how we are doing this to improve patient safety.”
Medical Home Port is a team based approach that provides primary care in a way that best meets the needs of beneficiaries. The Medical Home Port team will ensure that care is all-inclusive and integrated with other care provided within the health care system.
Prior to Medical Home Port, appointments for patients were scheduled through a centralized appointment scheduling center rather than by each team.
“Before Medical Home Port, patients rarely ever saw their PCM,” said Jordon. “They would see whoever was available at the moment, but since [NHP] has initiated Medical Home Port, PCM continuity is over 70 percent. If a patient’s PCM is not available, then we can send messages to the provider letting them know that a patient is trying to see them. The providers have been very helpful with this by setting their schedule around the patients as best they can.”
The Family Medicine Residency Program provided a unique challenge to implementing Medical Home Port. As part of their education, residents rotate to different services within the hospital and the community, which decreases their availability to be in clinics. With Medical Home Port’s basis being continuity of care, it makes it harder to accomplish with the residents workload scattering them all over, which is why the team approach is vital to provide beneficiaries with continuity of care.
To overcome this challenge, the residents and their teams committed to seeing their patients whenever possible. This culture change has markedly contributed to improved care continuity.
“What we have been able to prove here is that through a team-based approach, [continuity] is possible to do and do it at a high level,” said Bernstein. “We know that there are road blocks, but with what [the hospital is] doing, we can share with other commands to help them identify their roadblocks and share with them the best practices to accomplish this appropriately at every command.”
With three awards in three years, NHP continually strives to improve patient safety. Patient centered care is a concept shared by many in and around the hospital and will continue to foster new ideas and innovations to improve overall patient safety.
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This work, Three Patient Safety Awards in a row, by PO1 James Stenberg, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.