The annual Innovators Award challenge brings out HCA’s best thinkers . In 2013,  more than 1,500 ideas were submitted, and winners were chosen at every facility and at the division level. From those, three national winners have been announced. Each national winner received $10,000, as well as the “Tommy” award, a likeness of company founder Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr.

We will profile those winners in a three-part series of blogs beginning with the Service Excellence winners, Douglas Burns, OPSD RN Supervisor, and Lisa Offord, Director of Surgical Services, at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. Their award-winning solution, Project Mary, is streamlining workflow, improving patient satisfaction and more.

Project Mary

Improving the surgical pre-admission process at St. David’s was a big job, but by tackling processes and creating a more streamlined approach, Douglas Burns and Lisa Offord were able to achieve multiple positive outcomes.

“The process was fragmented, with multiple phone calls made to both patients and surgeon offices,” Offord says. “Feedback from our customers made us look at ways to improve. One was to offer a concierge-type service at the moment a patient is scheduled for surgery. This is a one-on-one service that navigates them through a complex and stressful life event.”

The new patient-navigation process follows patients through the entire spectrum of their hospital encounter, from the initial scheduling to completion of their care. Patients enjoy the relationships they now can build with the pre-admission nurses, she adds, noting that “They feel cared for, informed and prepared. In a self-reporting postal survey they remark that they are very satisfied with the surgical navigation process.”

Surgeons and their schedulers also are very satisfied because once the case is scheduled they know their patients will be taken care of and be fully prepared for the day of surgery.

“Patient safety is of the highest priority and having confidence in a team is the upmost importance to them,” Offord says.

The pilot project moved physician satisfaction into the 90th percentile, patient satisfaction into the 95th percentile, same-day case cancellations were reduced from 2.37 percent to only .33 percent and lost cases were greatly reduced as well. Based on these results, the program now will be added to two more surgical offices in an effort to increase volumes while also retaining these high efficiencies and patient-satisfaction metrics.