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2010 Year in Review

Report to the HHC Board of Directors


Just as we seek to empower our patients to be partners in their healthcare decisions, Breakthrough empowers all staff – without regard to title or position – to brainstorm toward making improvements in their work, be it reducing patient wait time in a particular department or service, increasing a revenue stream, or eliminating waste in ordering supplies. Going forward, in order to meet our critical goals of cost containment and more efficient delivery of services we will replicate successful solutions developed in one facility in other facilities. This way proven solutions will proliferate throughout the system more quickly and become the baseline for further innovation.

One impressive example of the success of Breakthrough in 2010 is Gouverneur's Patient Assistance Area, which is enhancing their primary care services. This new approach fast-tracks patients who come to Gouverneur for medication refills, to have a form completed, or for other issues not requiring physician contact. The Assistance Area significantly reduces interruptions to the appointment schedule, streamlines workflow, and eliminates overlap in staff roles. In addition to expediting patient service, the system is also increasing the productivity of Physician Assistants.

Addressing another common and persistent issue, Elmhurst staff tackled the challenge of moving emergency room patients upstairs and into beds more quickly. Thanks to the implementation of improved doctor- to-doctor and nurse-to-nurse communication between the ED and inpatient units, the average wait-time it now takes for an admitted ED patient to be moved to an inpatient bed has decreased by 31% (from almost 8 hours to 5.5 hours).

Overall, our Breakthrough efforts have led to more than $13.4 million in measurable cost savings, and $100.6 million in new revenue, including $60 million from improved inpatient documentation and coding.

Breakthrough is now our enterprise-wide improvement process for streamlining our operations, creating standard work, and increasing the overall efficiency of our system. Those employees who have experienced a rapid improvement event have been enthusiastic about their personal involvement in making improvements, and increasing numbers of staff are clamoring to become Breakthrough participants.