Pillars of Excellence Awards
2016 Pillars of Excellence Award Winners
Our 2016 Pillars of Excellence Award winners represent the spirit and aspirations of The Sharp Experience.
Quality Pillar winners
Cathy Woerle, Sharp HealthCare Multi-Entity
With the goal of improving laboratory testing to quickly and accurately diagnose patient infections, Cathy completed extensive research and brought new microbial technologies to Sharp HealthCare. She introduced state-of-the-art diagnostic tests for C Diff, Influenza, and other infections to improve turn-around time and accuracy — allowing patients to receive the treatment they need in a fraction of the time. Cathy closely monitors every step of the testing process — always seeking the most accurate and reliable clinical outcomes for patients.
Neurologic Intensive Care Nursery, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
TWhile providing specialized care to infants with neurological related injuries and conditions, this team works to improve outcomes for Sharp's tiniest patients. They conducted many improvements including: providing advanced nurse training in seizure identification and the use of whole-body cooling equipment, staffing of dedicated neonatal neurology nurses 24/7, partnering with physicians to train the referring community, and developing dedicated orders sets. Their interventions resulted in a decreased length of stay from 21 to 12 days and reduced mortality from 19 percent to 8 percent.
6 North Bringing It Back to Basics, Sharp Memorial Hospital
To reduce C-diff infections, this Surgical Acute Care Unit used a patient-centered, back-to-basics approach to nursing care. Through employee engagement and shifting of staff responsibilities, they ensured that 100 percent of patients were bathed, linens changed, and high touch areas in the patient's room cleaned with bleach every day. Due to their efforts, C diff infection rates improved from 23.8 per 10,000 patient days to zero and patient perception of "Attention to Special and Personal Needs" improved from the 43rd percentile to the 93rd percentile.
Safety Pillar winners
Kara De Angelo, Sharp Memorial Hospital
As leader of the Emergency Department Safe Patient Mobilization Committee, Kara is committed to zero harm for staff and patients. She analyzed the cause of falls and injuries, then organized the information and helped educate more than 200 staff members on the proper use of lift equipment. Under her leadership, patient falls in the Emergency Department decreased over 30 percent and worker back injuries decreased over 60 percent during the past two years.
Safe Surgical and Procedural Experience Committee, System Services Multi-Entity
With the goal of eliminating wrong site, side and type surgeries, this team created a safe and reliable process to ensure that every patient has the right procedure, every time. Using Lean Six Sigma tools, more than nine best practices were hardwired in 34 operating rooms and procedural departments across the system. Improvements include standardized pre-procedure processes and full team engagement of the Time Out process. As of May 2016, it had been over 330 days since an error of this type occurred.
Facilities Engineering, Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center
To eliminate accidents that cause employee injury and lost work time, this department replaced and refurbished existing equipment, acquired and implemented new and improved equipment, painted curbs to reduce tripping hazards and physically attached personal protective gear to equipment, which reminded the operators to wear it. As a result of their comprehensive efforts, they achieved more than 1,600 days — almost four and a half years — without lost time from employee injuries and accidents.
Service Pillar winners
Rose Bloomberg-Rissman, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Rose goes above and beyond in her role as a social worker, ensuring patients and families are well cared for. She is a valuable resource to patients, nurses, interns and physicians. A tireless patient advocate, Rose works to create positively memorable experiences for patients in difficult situations, while always conveying empathy, compassion and respect. A recent thank you card from parents of an NICU patient says it best, "We would not have survived without you and we forever consider you family."
Pain Management, Sharp Grossmont Hospital
To reduce pain levels reported by patients after Total Knee Replacement surgery, this team developed an innovative Cerner Pain Dashboard and a three-step triage process. Through a proactive, collaborative approach between the pharmacists, nurses and physicians, patients receive personalized service and are treated for their own, unique pain needs. As a result, the number of patients who reported their pain was well controlled increased from 53 percent to 86 percent in just four months.
Social Work, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
This department provides exceptional experiences for patients that touch the hearts of those they serve. They have created a comprehensive infant loss program to bring peace and comfort to families on the hardest days of their lives. The department provides financial resources and support systems for parents whose newborns are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. They partner with organizations to provide baby supplies for low-income patients and they support the unique needs of high-risk mothers-to-be in the hospital on bedrest.
People Pillar winners
Charles Westfall, Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital
As a lead in the Intensive Outpatient Program in East County, Charles has taken a multi-focused approach to increase employee engagement. He formed a task force to restructure care delivery and empowered clinicians to develop the appropriate curriculum to best serve their clients. He also concentrates on employees' strengths, acknowledges everyday accomplishments and conducts a biweekly lunch learning session. As a result, employee satisfaction is in the top decile, and team members applaud Charles' inspirational leadership.
Center of Nursing Excellence Scholarship Program, System Services Multi-Entity
The Sharp Center of Nursing Excellence was created to provide Sharp nurses with resources and opportunities for collaboration, best-practice sharing, and lifelong learning. Since its inception in 2011, this scholarship program has awarded a total of 134 scholarships to Sharp nurses totaling over $600,000. Funded by generous contributions of Sharp donors, this program demonstrates a commitment to advancing the profession of nursing at Sharp HealthCare and retaining the best and brightest people.
Perinatal Loss Labor & Delivery Unit Practice Council, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns
Recognizing that nurses can be challenged, overwhelmed and stressed when caring for families who have experienced a perinatal loss, this department implemented improvements to their process. They developed a detailed checklist to improve the nurses' confidence, created a video with interviews of patients who had experienced a perinatal loss and arranged for the use of special boxes to carry the tiny bodies to their final resting place. Staff reported less anxiety and depression with these improvements, allowing them to more confidently care for their patients.
Finance Pillar winners
Jeffery Reid, Sharp HealthCare, System Services
In the course of his work related to Medicare Disproportionate Share appeals, Jeff read something that piqued his curiosity. He did extensive research, made countless phone calls and went on to become the county leader in pursuing additional Medicare reimbursements on behalf of all of San Diego's hospitals. Jeff's efforts resulted in an additional $4.5 million in disproportionate share funding to date with the expectation of another $9 million for Sharp HealthCare when all of the filings are reviewed and complete.
ICD-10 Steering, Core and Workgroups Team, System Services Multi-Entity
Rather than focusing solely on the required steps to implement ICD-10, the new medical codes system — this team deployed an enterprise-wide strategic initiative to achieve innovations in the financial, quality, technological and procedural arenas. The implementation of the clinical documentation program and computerized assisted coding set the stage for a smooth transition to ICD-10. These wide-ranging efforts yielded $8.7 million savings in transcription and increased Medicare net revenues of $15.3 million over the first three years.
Observation Unit, Sharp Grossmont Hospital
With the goal of reducing health care costs below Medicare reimbursement rates, this unit restructured operations and used a centralized outpatient observation model. By implementing education and activities to improve throughput and manage labor costs and productivity, they increased patient volumes and decreased the cost per unit of service by 19 percent.
Growth Pillar winners
Judy Courtemanche, Sharp Memorial Hospital
As Director for Health Information, Judy works tirelessly to improve and expand system operations. She focuses on continual growth by maximizing coding, avoiding backlogs, increasing revenue capture and improving cash flow. She shares her expertise across the system, develops new processes for organizational growth and system changes, and participates in key steering committees and trainings. Her creative and innovative information management and finance skills benefit the entire organization.
Radiation Oncology, Sharp Grossmont Hospital
The Radiation Oncology team set out to increase community awareness and the use of unique specialized radiation therapy equipment. After collaborating with Engineering to create a calming environment in the treatment rooms, they partnered with Marketing to advertise and educate the community. Through hosted events, health fairs, lectures, television and social media, patient volumes have increased by 24 percent.
Business Development, Sharp Health Plan
Through implementation of exemplary sales and marketing initiatives designed to retain membership while fueling growth of new individual members, Sharp Health Plan grew its membership by 42 percent. Off-exchange, direct business grew by 60 percent, and Sharp Health Plan acquired 23 percent of all new business to Covered California in San Diego - a higher percentage than any other large carrier in the exchange. This growth resulted in increased net revenue of 49 percent and an increase of 20 percent in underwriting income.
Community Pillar winners
Scott Musicant, MD, Sharp Grossmont Hospital
Dr. Scott Musicant is a practicing vascular surgeon who generously donates his time and expertise to San Diego County's underserved population as a physician volunteer for Project Access San Diego. Since 2009, he has performed more than 20 surgeries for East County residents who could not otherwise afford these specialty surgeries. Dr. Musicant volunteers to save these patients' limbs, preserving their ability to remain independent and self-sufficient so they may continue working and caring for their families.
Housewide Clinical Practice Council, Sharp Grossmont Hospital
This team led a hospital-wide effort to support Christie's Place, a local nonprofit, dedicated to helping children and families living with HIV and AIDS. They promoted the organization's Backpack Drive, and team members filled backpacks with school supplies and other important items — like outfits for the first day of school and handwritten notes of encouragement. The team donated nearly 300 backpacks, bringing warmth and support to children and families who face some of life's most difficult challenges.
Heart Transplant, Sharp Memorial Hospital
In a true testament to the mission of their work and their dedication to the community, the Heart Transplant department has consistently been the number-one Sharp fundraising team for the American Heart Association's Heart Walk. In 2015, they set a stretch goal to be the number-one fundraising team in all of San Diego. As the Heart Transplant and LVAD team, they increased participation by 20 percent and met their goal, marching forward with 225 participants and more than $24,000 in donations.