By Kayla Green, Vizient
When transparency and collaboration among healthcare system teams work cohesively, providers can solve problems of high reliability and culture within a matter of months. Or so The Queen’s Health System on Oahu, Hawaii, realized after strategically enhancing communication system-wide through using the Vizient Safe and Reliable Healthcare Learning and Engagement System (LENS) as part of their solution.
In September 2022, The Queen’s Health System implemented LENS — a digital visual management system that helps increase transparency and simplify communication in health systems to grow community, manage work and consistently deliver high reliability healthcare — into their day-to-day practices. LENS gives frontline teams a central and accessible place to voice concerns and track leadership progress as issues are resolved, ensuring that teams not only see the concerns being addressed, but are able to get those concerns resolved faster, allowing them to focus more of their time, energy and attention on their day-to-day responsibilities. The enhanced communication also helps combat burnout and foster community in a time when expectations and demands are increasing daily on healthcare teams.
Like many providers, The Queen's Health System — who led a power huddle on this very topic at the 2023 Vizient Connections Summit in September — is committed to improving high reliability and culture across their system.
Dianna Motley is director of critical care, emergency services at The Queen’s Medical Center West Oahu — one of the first departments to take on the new endeavor at the hospital. Her unit is home to roughly 130 staff who work varying schedules. She said that keeping each member in the loop is critical to the department.
“I have a large staff and some of them I hardly ever see because they work different shifts or only come in two times per month on weekends,” Motley said. “LENS provides accountability for each one of us and is a great way to get a lot of information out to the entire staff in a timely manner.”
LENS has been instrumental in their success. It’s helping the health system capture issues and resolve them, as well as improve staff engagement within and across units. Prior to implementation, the health system was in the 60th percentile for Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA) scanning rates — an inventory control system using barcodes — but within months of implementing LENS, they rose to the national 95th percentile benchmark and have consistently sustained that ranking.
LENS also provided Motley and her team a method for distributing staff recognition, improving morale and fostering positivity in addition to improving patient and staff safety.
“We’ve been able to move initiatives forward by providing colleagues and leaders the space in LENS to recognize accomplishments and offer immediate issue intervention,” Motley said. “The board also provides areas for staff to get to know each other and team build. The staff love it. They post pictures of their vacations, pets, families and even food.”
Robin Kalohelani, vice president of operations and associate chief nursing officer at The Queen’s Medical Center – West Oʻahu, said they are actively implementing LENS in other hospital departments and units, too.
“Each unit's culture within the hospital is very specific, and staying true to that culture is important. So, as we’re rolling LENS out across departments, we’re taking that into consideration,” Kalohelani said. “Similarly, if we find there is a program or initiative one unit is doing particularly well that could be implemented within another unit, that’s worth exploring. The BCMA is a great example; after seeing the success within the emergency department, we implemented it within the respiratory department.”
Now, The Queen’s Health System is expanding its use of LENS across the system to improve performance across all its hospitals. They also are a front-runner for integrating LENS with the Vizient Clinical Data Base (CDB) — benchmarking and analytics tool that helps healthcare organizations better understand their outcomes data and improve their performance in finance, quality, safety, operations and satisfaction — and the Vizient Operational Data Base (ODB) — which evaluates performance, reduces costs and improves budgeting at the hospital and unit levels — to gain further insight into ways they can become more highly reliable.
“Once we’re able to fully implement LENS across the system, the interconnectivity will provide us a greater opportunity, ease and efficiency to respond to the needs of any hospital within our system,” Kalohelani said.
The expansion is all part of that larger plan to improve high reliability and patient safety across The Queen’s Health System — a mission they hold near and dear to their hearts.
“We’re here for the community,” Kalohelani said. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that we’re giving our patients the highest quality of care and compassion.”