LEAWOOD, Kan., April 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CSA Surgical Center (CSASC), a NueHealth partnership with a group of highly-qualified General and Vascular Surgeons from Columbia Surgical Associates in Columbia, MO, received the Bernard A. Kershner Innovations in Quality Improvement Award (Surgical/Procedural Expert Panel) on March 15 at the AAAHC Achieving Accreditation program in Tampa, Florida. CSASC was chosen from a group of six finalists by the AAAHC Institute for Quality Improvement, which is comprised of medical and healthcare industry professionals. The Bernard A. Kershner Innovations in Quality Improvement Award recognizes exemplary quality improvement studies conducted by AAAHC-accredited facilities. Evidence of innovative thinking that can be used in other ambulatory health care settings is a key factor in award determination.
In their study "Post-Operative Pain Reduction Quality Study: Pre-Operative Administration of Acetaminophen," the CSASC studied 134 cases of patients undergoing Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder) to determine that administering oral pain medication (Acetaminophen) before surgery could improve post-op pain management. "This study was important in improving outcomes for our patients. Gallbladder removal patients traditionally have pain in the immediate post-op period, but administering IV narcotics for pain at that time can increase the patient's likelihood of becoming nauseated, making comfort measures a real challenge," said Lisa Leathers, RN, BSN, who coordinated the study on behalf of CSASC. "By administering oral Acetaminophen before surgery, we hoped to engaged the patient's pain receptors early in the process and reduce immediate post-operative pain and with it, the need to administer multiple narcotics after surgery." Reduced post-op pain also means a reduced hospital or facility stay for the patient, making the approach both cost-effective and a quality of life improvement for patients. "The data we collected validated what we were seeing in practice with this intervention," said Leathers. "We now give oral pre-op acetaminophen to most every surgical patient."
Leathers originally presented the study at the 2018 NueHealth Nurse Leader Conference and was encouraged by a representative from the AAAHC to submit the study for the Bernard A. Kershner Innovations in Quality Improvement Award. Barb Tirrell, Vice President of Quality and Performance Improvement at NueHealth, called Leathers the next day to ensure that the submission would be ready in what was then an incredibly short turnaround time. "There are ten guidelines that submissions must follow, and it's a pretty rigorous process," said Tirrell.
After learning that she and her team had been named finalists, Leathers needed to create a graphic poster for presentation at this year's AAAHC Achieving Accreditation conference in March. Stakeholders gave feedback and after five rounds of revision, the poster was printed and shipped several weeks in advance of the conference. "I had two made just in case," said Leathers. "I was planning to carry one on the plane with me if the first one got lost in transit."
"We were thankful for the opportunity to present our study at the NueHealth conference and surprised and honored when we received the recommendation to submit our study for a Bernie. When we found out we had been nominated as a national finalist, I remember our Medical Director Dr. James Pitt saying excitedly, 'YES, no matter what happens this study has a chance to be seen on a large national stage and improve patient outcomes for real people beyond our facility.'" Physicians and medical staff from over 300 facilities attended the conference and had the opportunity to speak with Leathers about the study.
In order to have a successful program for process improvement, a shared mission and high level of engagement is required on every level. Leathers credit their Medical Staff, Clinical team and NueHealth for this recognition. The Medical Staff at CSASC is truly committed to improving outcomes for the patients they serve in their community. "The high priority they place on this commitment to always take care of the patient transcends throughout the entire organization and has created a rich culture and reputation that allows our facility to cultivate a like-minded team and continue to improve upon the service we provide together," says Leathers.
"We are extremely thankful for our NueHealth partnership, which provides the corporate support necessary to have an environment where creative thinking thrives. Because of the foundation poured by our NueHealth partners through the experience and support of their clinical team, we have more time to do the special and innovative things that benefit our patients. We are building on the foundation created by our NueHealth partners."
"We're all concerned that a patient's experience be positive," said Tirrell of NueHealth's role working with CSASC. "We want to do everything possible to minimize discomfort."
"We are extremely proud of CSASC for pioneering this approach and grateful for the leadership of Lisa Leathers," said NueHealth President and COO Jon H. Friesen, CMCE, PAHM. "The study and the award CSASC earned are testaments to their great teamwork."
Leathers said that the study would also not have been possible without the commitment of the entire staff. "Studies take a lot of time, but that was never a concern for the staff. They were committed to change because we all want to continuously improve the patient experience." The team included surgeons, anesthesiologists, operating nurses, support staff, and the entire clinical team.
"We are proud and honored to have won," said Leathers, "But the most exciting thing is that over 300 different facilities saw the dramatic impact of our approach, and they can go back and consider implementing this at their facilities. That's even more important to us than the award."
Since 1997, NueHealth has partnered with over 10,000 physician investors and 25 health system partners to develop lower-cost sites of service, expanding into more than 150 facilities, including physician-owned surgery centers, surgical hospitals and orthopedic hyper-specialty centers. Today, NueHealth operates in 23 states, positioning our Ambulatory Centers of Excellence™ (ACE) to be national leaders in the transition to value-based care. For more information, visit www.nuehealth.com.
About CSA Surgical Center
CSA Surgical Center is a ambulatory surgical center in Columbia, Missouri performing general and vascular surgery procedures. The facility was established by a dedicated group of area physicians, seeking a better way to serve their patients. CSASC strives to provide high quality, individualized, cost-effective surgical care in a comfortable patient/family-oriented environment. Their specialty trained physicians and professional staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality of individualized care to each patient. This patient-focused approach is intended to promote long-term health and well-being that result in a high degree of patient satisfaction. For more information, visit www.csasurgicalcenter.com.
About the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, founded in 1979, is the leader in ambulatory health care accreditation with more than 6,000 organizations accredited nationwide. AAAHC accredits a variety of organizations including, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based surgery centers, endoscopy centers, student health centers, military health care clinics, and large medical and dental practices. AAAHC serves as an advocate for the provision of high-quality health care through the development of nationally recognized standards and through its survey and accreditation programs. AAAHC accreditation is recognized as a symbol of quality by third-party payers, medical organizations, liability insurance companies, state and federal agencies and the public. Additional information is available at www.aaahc.org.