“It is definitely faster and more efficient than our former procedures. The staff really appreciates the fact that everyone has the same information wherever they are and the information is continually up-to-date.”

—Lexanne Darwent, Manager of Operations Improvement

Memorial Medical Center

Background 

Memorial Health System is a major not-for-profit healthcare corporation serving approximately 832,0000 patients annually from throughout central Illinois. Springfield-based Memorial Medical Center is the organization’s flagship hospital and principal surgery center, with more than 11,000 procedures conducted each year.  As the region’s designated Level 1 Trauma Center, Memorial Medical Center recently underwent a major expansion of its perioperative department including the addition of 5 more operating rooms for a total of 23.

As testament to the organization’s commitment to outstanding patient service and outcomes, Memorial Medical Center has earned the National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award for outstanding delivery of services and patient satisfaction 11 years running. For the third consecutive year It has earned the Magnet designation, considered the nation’s gold standard for excellence in nursing. Memorial is also well known for its specific expertise in burn treatment, bariatric services, joint replacement, DaVinci robotics, and transplant services (including a recent, and rare, certification for hand transplants).                  

The Challenge

In response to increasing patient loads and expansion of its OR capacity, Memorial Medical Center has initiated a number of procedural changes to improve the consistency and effectiveness of its perioperative workflow and communications.  The hospital first took the step to augment its revolving volunteer waiting room attendants with the consistency of full-time staff while recognizing the need to improve other systems and processes to maximize the value of that staff investment.

“We were working from paper surgery schedules which had to be continually checked and manually updated,” says Lexanne Darwent, Manager of Operations Improvement. “Additionally, waiting room attendants had to rely on memory to track which patient’s family member was sitting where in the waiting room, increasing the risk of delivering a report to the wrong person. If people moved around, the attendant might have to call out a name to have them identify themselves for an update, or a physician might choose to deliver a status update verbally in the waiting room rather than wait for a family member to go to a private consult room, and that raises HIPAA concerns. We pride ourselves on delivering the best service and experience for our patients and their families and in this area we clearly could do better.”

The Solution

Memorial Medical Center chose Mutare’s Vital Link Surgery Status application to provide more streamlined communications, a more stress-free waiting room environment, and enhanced overall experience for patient family members or companions. Working from a PC or tablet, waiting room staff can now log into the Surgery Status Update application for a real-time dashboard view of all active surgery patients and their associated companions, eliminating the need for manual schedule updates and paper notes. As part of Mutare’s comprehensive Vital Link platform, Surgery Status Update uses the companion’s cellular device to deliver two-way messaging between staff and patient companions throughout the surgery process.  It not only relieves waiting room staff from the burden of manual schedule updates and tracking down family members for reports, but also frees those companions to leave the waiting room for the cafeteria, restroom, outdoor areas or other amenities, knowing they will not miss an important update.

“It is definitely faster and more efficient than our former procedures,” says Lexanne. “The staff really appreciates the fact that everyone has the same information wherever they are and the information is continually up-to-date. Even if they need to call instead of using the texting feature, the names and phone numbers are all right there so they don’t have to look it up in the patient record. That alone saves a lot of time. And it’s also nice that we can now give family members a quick head’s up when the physician is on the way down to see them for a face-to-face. We can have them ready in a private consult room when the physician arrives, which respects both the privacy of the family and the time of the physician.”

The Results

Memorial Medical Center conducts regular patient surveys to measure levels of satisfaction in its performance. Even considering Memorial Health’s established reputation for patient satisfaction, survey results from family members using the Surgery Status application revealed even greater improvement. In the first six months following Memorial Medical Center’s Vital Link Surgery Status implementation:

  • Patient and family satisfaction scores rose nearly 20% - from 4.1 (on a 5-point scale) at baseline to 5.
  • All of the following Press Ganey scores — information given to the family, comfort of family in waiting area, information about delays, concern for privacy, and overall rank — also showed significant improvement. 

The Mutare Experience

When discussing her experience with Mutare throughout application development and implementation, Lexanne commented, “I have nothing but good to say. Everyone has been great to work with, everything addressed in a timely fashion throughout the whole process. I would bring up an issue and they would say ‘Oh we’ll take care of that,’ and the next day everything was done. With you guys, everything has been really great. Yes, I would highly recommend Mutare!” 

About Mutare Health

Mutare Health is connecting people and health information in meaningful ways that improve the quality of care. By providing hospitals, physicians groups, and care providers with the communications technology needed for stronger care team collaboration, Mutare Health is helping to build a better Healthcare experience for patients and professionals. For more information visit mutarehealth.com