Quality is a Way of Life at Watertown Regional Medical Center

August 14, 2017

By: Isabelle Garibaldi, Chief Nursing Officer at Watertown Regional Medical Center

In the healthcare setting, we often hear the word “quality” used, and for good reason. I have been in the medical field for the 35 years, and can tell you that I, and every one of our nurses, share a common desire to deliver the best possible care to every person we see. Every day.

But despite this commonality, quality means different things to different organizations. At Watertown Regional Medical Center (WRMC), quality encompasses everything we do: how we care for patients, how we ensure the health and safety of each of our employees, and how we contribute to the overall health and well-being of our communities.

Quality also means that every person at our hospital – our physicians, our employees in every department, and our patients and their family members – plays an important role in the delivery of quality care. We constantly strive to improve how we provide care and enhance our patients’ experiences, and we work hard to maintain a culture that empowers everyone to feel ownership over the care and service provided.

To do this, we have implemented a number of intentional and detailed quality improvement initiatives. For instance, WRMC has launched a program that we call the Foundational Five. This program was built on work from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and is being integrated into all areas of operation.   This new way of interacting allows us to enhance and strengthen communication among all of our associates to improve patient care. We have also implemented the industry leading practice of bedside shift report in a way that allows us to include patients in shift change conversations, while also ensuring that we address each patient’s specific concerns and needs. This practice has been proven to not only improve communication, but also to reduce the opportunity for clinical errors as well as the risk for hospital acquired harm (infection, falls, etc.)

Through all of these quality improvement efforts, WRMC is driving a transformational change in how we care for patients. We are keeping patients more engaged in the care process than ever before and the benefits are overwhelming. For example, our hospital has not had a single central line-associated blood stream infection for over five consecutive years. This is a tremendous feat, and one that few hospitals across the country achieve. Our hospital has also received an A on the LeapFrog Safety Grade for five of the last seven measurement cycles. Each of these accolades are a testament to the commitment to quality that is ever-present at WRMC.

The good news is this is only the beginning!  Our commitment to quality is a journey that we will continue to refine. It is an assurance to our community that we will never stop looking for ways to further improve patient care and ensure that every person who enters our facility receives high-quality, safe and compassionate care. It is our way of life.