Here are five things to know about Stephanie Furtado and her colleagues’ improvement opportunity, which brought cost savings to the pediatric oncology unit at McMaster University Medical Centre (MUMC) and potentially other units within our hospital system.
Stephanie Furtado is a skin, wound and ostomy nurse clinician at McMaster Children’s Hospital and MUMC. She’s worked in healthcare for 10 years.
Challenging process for changing a dressing
Staff in the pediatric oncology unit regularly used an adhesive remover product for IVs and dressings. The dressing change process is difficult for some patients both physically and emotionally. This product supposedly helped reduce pain.
However, we learned that was not always the case. This particular product did not work in the most efficient way. Nurses had to sometimes re-apply the remover or spend extra time cleaning the affected area more than once for the next dressing to be applied properly.
The product also emitted a strong scent that bothered several members of the team and violated Hamilton Health Sciences’ (HHS) fragrance-free policy.
We knew a better way existed, we just needed the tools to find it.
Now, with CQI in place, we are more aware of issues like this and my fellow colleagues generally support any opportunity to improve the way the unit works. It’s a culture shift that embraces fixing even seemingly minor issues.
Groups are now more receptive to change and take steps necessary to ensure the viability of leaning away from the status quo.
How the unit arrived at the solution
This improvement project initiated because there was a difference in practice on the inpatient and outpatient pediatric oncology units. The issue was added to the huddle board by outpatient nursing staff.
After meeting with several units at MUMC that were high users of this brand of adhesive remover, we learned the pros and cons of continuing with a substandard product instead of finding something safer for our patients.
We also discovered other groups, namely housekeeping staff, used a better product as part of their cleaning routine.
The improvement opportunity was listed as a Just Do It under the Patients goal, meaning a solution is typically found and implemented in a short period of time with few resources needed.
Patient safety was a priority
Our solution turned out to be safer for patients and saved money for the unit, which fits under HHS’ Sustainability goal. Over $5,000 in savings to be exact. A relatively small drop in the bucket in a large organization, but with over 1,300 improvements from just one quarter of the workforce, these savings add up quickly.
A new product—which doesn’t smell as much and was already available—is now used throughout the hospital. It also gets positive staff feedback.
The Just Do It status was largely responsible for having this implemented within a short timeframe.
In previous systems, these kinds of changes would likely be resisted and no further conversation would continue. With CQI, however, groups are now more receptive to change and take steps necessary to ensure the viability of leaning away from the status quo.
Stephanie had one thing to say to her colleagues about to enter the world of CQI:
“Feel free to dream and ask questions. Even something trivial can have a big impact.”