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Thames Hospital ED leads the way

L-r: David James, Michelle Dellarbarca, Dr Matt Scales and Dr Gilliam Twinem

Thames Hospital is leading the way with its Emergency Department (ED) Quality Framework initiatives if a presentation given by staff to a health forum in Wellington is anything to go by.

ED medical officer Gillian Twinem and registered nurse Michelle DellaBarca presented on “Quality in a Rural Setting” at the Ministry of Health-hosted forum.

Discussion focussed on how much progress the department made towards implementing some 19 mandatory measures.

The team, boosted by Dr Matt Scales and charge nurse manager David James, worked together developing tools to audit these various compulsory measures, and then began to collect and analyse the data so that it gave useful information.

Audits range from reporting on how often there are breaches of the six-hour health target and why, to looking at how well the ED does at treating pain, how fast the department administers antibiotics for sepsis and what the mortality rate is for patients with a fractured neck of femur.

Once they collect the data, it is analysed and various issues underlying the data revealed.

These can then be addressed via action plans in order to improve patient safety and optimise treatment.

Jacquie Mitchell

Jacquie Mitchell

The Thames presentation was very well received and feedback indicated that Thames Hospital is actually well ahead of other hospitals in implementing this Quality Framework, said Thames Hospital and Community Services service manager Jacquie Mitchell.

“They have not only developed tools for most of the audit measures, but have begun to analyse data and to implement actions which are already showing improved patient outcomes,” she said.

Thames Hospital has Waikato DHB’s second-biggest ED after Waikato. Each year it sees more than 15,000 patients a year with its busiest time traditionally being the holiday season around December/January.

Since the introduction of the six-hour target in 2007, it has regularly assessed, seen and treated more than 95 per cent of its patients within the six hours.

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