Medical Training Unit decides to “Live quality every day”

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 2:12pm

Today’s Puzzle

[(38 patients + (16 new physician learners each month)] + [(internal medicine specialists + sub-specialists) X 2 weeks] + [(12 nurses + OT PT SW Pharmacy teams) + (nursing students) X rotating shifts] + 2 housekeepers + 2 ward aids + 2 ward clerks + (difficult and wide-ranging set of health challenges such as lung disease, kidney failure, frail elderly, chronic disease) =  ???


The Medical Teaching Unit (MTU) at the QEII Health Sciences Centre - a crowded general medicine unit that provides care to over 1,500 patients per year while supporting the development of multiple learners in many disciplines.

“MTU can be hectic and busy,” says Linda Hutchins, Health Services Manager, Medicine, Geriatrics & Emergency.  “Critical thinking is required because nearly all our patients come from emergency, ICU and IMCU.  With this level of staff and the complicated health issues with our patients, coordination is everything.” Some days are better than others.

 “We needed a common point of information for front line care givers and the changing physician teams,” says Linda. “We needed help, so we started an operational team and put quality on the agenda.”

Previously, the team would “pull things together just for accreditation” and then one day, Linda had had enough. “We needed to live it every day. It was too much work living like this. No other way made sense.” The team decided to invest time to work quality into everything they did.

The Quality and Patient Safety team worked with MTU to create a specific scorecard and a dashboard, and these tools have made all the difference. Auditing is a regular occurrence.

“They brought a lot of data to our group and a routine and reliable way of measuring the same key performance items,” says Linda. “The scorecard gives us indicators, our aims and action plans and the dashboard shows us how we are doing with our measurements”.

Today, information within MTU is easily and accurately shared among all team members and the real benefit is being able to provide feedback and direction. Before, “you couldn’t give feedback because there was no standard to compare to. Now we see clearly what we are doing well and where we can improve. We have a vision.

“Trust me,” says Linda, “If you can do quality here - you can do it anywhere.”