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MDH Presents at the IHA Quality Advocacy Showcase

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Health and Hospital Association held its third annual Quality Advocacy Showcase at the State Capitol on Thursday (April 12). More than 100 hospital and health system leaders from across Illinois shared with legislators their efforts to improve patient care and safety.

McDonough District Hospital was one of 91 hospitals from around the state to present its quality improvement initiative.

Last October, MDH Laboratory implemented a new process called The Final Check. Its purpose is to eliminate mislabeled specimens. MDH staff went through training with the IHA’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network to learn to implement healthcare quality improvement initiatives.

The steps added included: adding a final check to ensure proper specimen labeling effective for both laboratory and nursing staff by comparing the last three digits of the patient’s medical record number off of the armband and the specimen aloud; utilizing just culture principles; and creating a culture of safety, reporting, learning and transparency. The project has improved patient safety, the quality of care, and increased patient satisfaction.

The minimal monetary investment by MDH in education and training is estimated to save the organization $1.5 million a year. According to the IHA, all the hospitals’ projects are anticipated to save a combined $84.1 million annually.

“The Final Check is a simple process we implemented in the laboratory and the emergency department initially. It is another added procedural step when we label specimens, but the process helps further ensure patient safety and satisfaction,” said Laboratory Department Leader Brittany Doll, MS, HTL(ASCP). “Just one mislabeled specimen is an inconvenience to the patient and can be an expensive cost for a hospital to investigate the error and re-run a test. Our final check of reading off the last three digits of the patient record number aloud when labeling the specimens is a simple process and it works.”

IHA’s Quality Advocacy Showcase, in its third year, is designed to visually demonstrate the work of physicians, nurses, quality improvement leaders and hospital administrators to develop and implement solutions to improve care. IHA produced one 30-by-42-inch poster per hospital or health system project for the event.

“This event provides a timely reminder of the life-saving work Illinois hospitals do daily and the critical role state government plays in ensuring that hospitals have the resources to continue to provide high-quality care to all Illinoisans,” said IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi.