National Healthcare Quality Week brings greater recognition for the healthcare quality profession and the contributions and impacts these professionals make in their organization, including Lompoc Valley Medical Center (LVMC). Chief Medical Officer Randall Michel, M.D., F.A.C.S., said he has had the opportunity during the past three years to directly observe the impact that a well-run Quality Assurance department can have on the practice of medicine at LVMC.
“The Quality Department has been able to deliver solid data to medical practitioners supporting national best medical practice guidelines,” Dr. Michel said. “Without gathering such data, it is often difficult to make the case for change and the adoption of newer practice protocols. It is only by monitoring our outcomes and the appropriate use of resources that we can continue to improve or patient care and safety. The Quality Department works every day on behalf of patients and those that provide them care in an effort to make the delivery of medical care as safe and effective as possible.”
LVMC Quality Team:
Melissa DeBacker, RN, MSN, CPHQ, HACP
Chief of Quality Assurance, Risk Management and Infection Control.
She has worked in Quality since August 2009.
Betty Lee, HACP
Quality Data Analyst
She Has Worked at LVMC for 30 Years, Including 20 in the Quality Department
Judy Begley, RN, MSN
Quality Analyst, Process Improvement Coordination and Implementation Lead.
Shellie Robles-Davis, RN, MSN
Infection Control Nurse.
She Has Been at LVMC for 15 Years and in Quality for 1 ½ Year.
Erica Sanchez, RN
Sepsis Program Lead, Core Measure Analyst RN.
She Has Worked at LVMC for One Year.
“We understand that quality does not reside in a department,” DeBacker explained. “Quality is the result of individuals within an organization feeling the drive to excellence, whether they provide care at the bedside or support the delivery of services; quality and excellence are measures of how we see our roles as individuals within the organization. Our role in the Quality Department is to instill principles of quality at all levels of the organization. Our goal is to help everyone from executives, physicians, staff and volunteers at every level achieve excellence through sustainable quality initiatives and process improvements.”
In recognition of National Healthcare Quality Week,
the LVMC Quality staff shares their stories.
What is most meaningful about the healthcare quality work that you do?
What is most meaningful to me is having an ability to influence patient care for the hospital bedside to the Board Room. My highest priorities are always patient care and nursing. To advocate for one is to advocate for both. Success in Quality means you understand what quality really is and looks like. Quality outcomes and achievement of excellence is the result of individuals within the organization, whatever their role in the organization. Inspiriting and helping others achieve excellence is what quality is all about.
Seeing a bigger picture and working with others in all departments to raise the bar on Quality in a way that will have a positive impact on all patients.
Truly for me, everything I do is meaningful and so much of what I do is interconnected with many areas. But what I always think about first is the patients we serve, because they are our customers.
The most meaningful work I do in quality is the education I give to frontline staff when needed. I was a frontline staff nurse for a while and knew very little about what the Quality Department actually did. So, any chance I get to help explain to anyone the meaning behind anything they might have questions with regarding any charting or patient care, I am glad to help.
Any time I am presenting an education session or answering a question about quality is the most meaningful part of my job. I think this is because even though I am not providing direct patient care anymore, I am assisting in improving the delivery of patient care.
Explain an initiative you’ve worked on to enhance hospital quality.
I am very proud of our Patient Family Advisory Council initiative, or PFAC. This committee has completed several important projects since May 2015. Committee meetings and projects are facilitated by the Quality Department staff. The goal of this committee is to help inform the organization of ways we can better meet patient needs from the patient perspective. Among its accomplishments is the dedication of pediatric paintings to lessen the clinical feel of treatment rooms for younger patients who come into the hospital; participation in improving patient satisfaction initiatives and the coordination of small toys and games to provide comfort to children in the Emergency Department or surgical suite. The PFAC also coordinated the installation of a display case in the hospital entrance to showcase awards the organization has received for achievements in patient safety. Members are now working with nursing leadership, Information Systems staff and others to develop a comprehensive discharge packet which will meet the varying needs of patients at the time of discharge.
I have worked on initiating and making improvements over the past few years on the Culture of Safety Survey and debriefing process. We improved our response numbers and received excellent feedback from staff that will be used to make positive changes throughout the hospital.
I see my role in Quality as more of a supportive role. I don’t lead meetings, although I have been to many. I don’t have to ultimately make the big decisions, but I am frequently asked for my feedback before a decision is made, and I don’t drive the train, but I have been on board for many years and through many changes. Change is inevitable, and you must remain open to new ideas, processes, and yes even technology.
I am especially proud to be part of the team and initiative called BETA. It’s rewarding being part of the patient safety initiative as a frontline staff nurse and then being behind the scenes and getting to know what goes on to set it up and the training that is involved to be able to convey the message to staff. Being on both sides of the fence, I am aware of all the work that goes into all sides of the initiative to be successful.
I am especially proud of the work I have done with the sepsis program at Lompoc Valley Medical Center. It is a pleasure to work with physicians, nursing, informatics, case management, laboratory and pharmacy departments. Sepsis is a team effort and it is a pleasure and an honor to champion the program. I also work closely with Judy Begley, who mentors me as we work with Patient and Family Centered Care and our Patient Family Advisors to develop a PFAC that works collaboratively with the hospital to improve the quality and safety of the care delivered at LVMC. PFA Lisa Anderson and I presented the work of the PFAC during a nationwide webinar. This opportunity was one that I never imagined doing and I enjoy being a part of the team that is helping to move the quality needle!
I am proud to be a healthcare quality professional because:
This work touches every patient through the opportunity it provides to educate, influence and move important patient-centered initiatives forward in our organization. In Quality, you look back long enough to use history to inform the future. The work is meaningful and touches lives – exactly the reason why I became a nurse.
I’ve been happy and proud to serve as a resource to others working together on performance improvement activities that in the long run will positively benefit the patients and community.
If I leave work occasionally thinking that I made a positive difference in someone’s day, then I’m good to go.
I am proud to be a qualified health care professional because this is the behind-the-scenes, nitty-gritty stuff that is so important for patient care. Even though I am not at the bedside doing direct patient care, I know the work that this department does makes a huge impact on the quality of care of many patients on a daily basis.
I chose a career in nursing because I wanted to make a difference and as a healthcare quality professional, I feel that I am able to accomplish this goal.