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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pneumonia readmissions on the decline

It appears Shoreline Medical is doing something right, at least when it comes to pneumonia readmission rates. As, compared to the national pneumonia readmission rate of 18%, our hospital had only a 2% readmission rate for the given time period of about a year.

Because of this, I was chosen to give a presentation to a group of respiratory therapy supervisors and managers. This was a unique and exciting opportunity for me, especially considering I was the lowest ranking RT at this meeting. Plus my boss chose me among all my peers to give the presentation.

I worked with the Quality Assurance Analyst for our hospital and created this really nice presentation. Then I spent quality time interviewing, going through charts, and researching all the things we do once a patient is diagnosed with pneumonia, and what we do to keep pneumonia rates down.

I actually learned quite a bit in this process about the administration side of things. What follows here is a summary of my presentation:

A goal at Shoreline Medical is that we all have our priorities in order.

Shoreline Medical is in a small town only a few miles off the shore of Lake Michigan. It's in a small town, a close nit community. And being a close nit community results in a close nit hospital. One of the reasons I chose to work here is because I felt Shoreline was kind of had a down home feel to it. Everyone got along, were good friends, had pot lucks, and stuff like that.

We started the process of getting our ducks in a row by focusing on the CMS Core Measures. To make sure all doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists are always thinking about the core measures, we are all in serviced on this every year by the Quality Assurance Department.

In the chart, before the doctor's orders section, is a bright orange laminated sheet that has all the core measures on it. This way, every time anyone looks at the orders he or she has to flip this page aside. And even if you don't read it, you know what's on it: the core measures. This is one simple reminder to everyone to focus on the core measures when writing and fulfilling orders.

The Core Measures for pneumonia are as follows:
  1. Initial Antibiotic Timing (given within 6 hours)
  2. Pneumococcal Vaccination if eligible
  3. Influenza Vaccination if eligible (October to March)
  4. Blood Culture drawn before initial antibiotics
  5. Appropriate antibiotic selection
  6. Smoking cessation advice and counseling given if indicated (if patient has smoked within the last 12 months)
The most important of the above are the pneumococcal Vaccination, Influenza vaccination and smoking cessation, as studies have linked all three with a reduction in secondary pneumonia. So our major emphasis was on these three.

These core measures are what works according to the most recent best practice evidence to improve patient outcomes and decrease costs for pneumonia patients. The question we had to ask ourselves is: how do we use these core values to get our ducks in a row

Data from our core values back in 2007 showed that Shoreline Medical was about 80% in all of these core measures except for antibiotic timing within 6 hours. In this, we had no data whatsoever, which means we probably didn't even do it.

Yet if you look at data from the first and second quarters of 2010 you can see that we are at or near 100% on nearly every core measure. When it comes to smoking cessation we were at 92%, yet that was basically due to a miscommunication between a doctor and a nurse. So even while we've improved, we still use this data to improve even further, as there is always room for improvement.

So basically back in 2007 we did not have all our priorities in order, and in 2010 we did. So how do we get our priorities in order?

Actually, if you look at pneumonia readmission data other than the above mentioned three month period our hospital at at 16.5%, which is no different than the U.S. National Rate. .

Yet from January to March 2010. During that span we had 52 pneumonia patients, and only one readmission rate.

These improved statistics based on the core measures show we are doing something right. They prove that we have our ducks in a row. The question you are asking is: how did we get our ducks in a row?

The first thing we did was back in 2007 we joined the Keystone Collaborative. We have a champion Internist, a physician from ER, and one from surgery and general practice as our champions. Then we have one nurse from critical care, the general floors, and one from the emergency room.

We also have a representative from lab, x-ray, pharmacy, quality assurance, computer analysis, respiratory therapy (that's me) etc., and we meet every month to analyze data from core measures to create and improve clinical pathways and order sets to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs for our hospital.

The key here is that we review modern wisdom and come up with better practices for our hospital. Anyone can do research, or come up with new ideas, and can share them with any member of the keystone

committee, and then this new wisdom is brought to and reviewed by the committee and changes are made as appropriate.

Basically the point of the Keystone Committee is to do what works and skip doing what's not working.

The following is our pneumonia order set:

Our order set includes the following as options for the doctor to check:
  • Code status
  • Vitals routine or ___________
  • Record input and output, daily weight, pulse oximetry every shift
  • EKG on admission
  • Chest x-ray on admission and on day 3
  • Lab work (if not already done): CBC, CMP, UA, Sputum for gram stain, culture and sensitivity, blood culture prior to administration of antibiotic (this has to be done within three hours of admission)
  • AM labs_______________
  • Oxygen at _______ lpm or per protocol or _________
  • Respiratory treatments: Albuterol 2.5mg with 3cc normal saline Q6 hours, up to ____ hours prn
  • Respiratory treatment: Atrovent 0.5 mg in 2.5 ml normal saline QID
  • Antibiotic therapy (1st dose to be given in ER) or immediately after blood culture drawn)
  • Community Acquired Pneumonia (non CCU): Levaquinn 500 mg IVPB Q24 hours times 3 days, then Levaquin 500 mg PO daily
  • Community Acquired Pneumonia (CCU or stepdown patients): Rocephin 1 gm IVPB Q24 hours and Zithromax 500 mg IVPB Q24 hours and Levaquin 750 mg IVPB Q24 hours and Azactam 2 GM IVPB Q12 hours
  • Nosocomial Pneumonis (check all that are indicated from list of meds and doses)
  • IV Fluid ____________
  • Tylenol 650 MG PO Q4 hours prn for pain
  • Xanax 0.25 mg PO Q6 prn for anxiety
  • Restoril 15 MG PO QHS prn for insomnia
  • MOM 30 ML PO BID prn for constipation
  • Robitussin 10 ml PO Q4 hours prn for cough
(I left a few things off, but that's basically the gist of it).

This is our pneumonia hymn book. It's all the things that the best practice evidence shows works to help pneumonia patients get well. It's one sheet of paper, which makes it very simple.

As you'll note, some of the things on here are automatically ordered -- the doctor has no choice. For instance, x-ray on admission and in the am times three days, and certain labs on admission and in the am.

The ER nurses are involved right away, because if that patient is in the ER at the five hour mark, they have to make sure a sputum is obtained, and that the patient has been given that initial antibiotic within 6 hours. They have a system to assure this is done, and checks and balances.

As soon as the patient is admitted, the orders are entered into the computer system, and reminders are automatically sent to all the respective departments as to what they have to do and when. In RT department sheets are printed off so we know what our role is for that patient.

For lab and x-ray, what they have to do is printed up on their respective printers, and plus the procedures they have to do are put on the tracker when they are due so they are reminded in that way too.

It's simple. This order sheet is our hymn book: it makes sure we are all singing from the same hymn book.

Then we have our extubation protocol (to see our extubation protocol click here). This order set is part of the ventilator bundle. It works similar to the pneumonia bundle, in that when it comes to intubated patients, it makes sure we are all singing from the same hymn book.

The neat things about our extubation protocol is that when we were in school in 1995 we learned that the cuff pressure should never exceed 20 cwp. Now we are taught to always exceed 20 cwp. The reason is to prevent aspiration , and to prevent ventilator acquired pneumonia.

Another thing to prevent pneumonia is that the circuit not be broken. To do this we use MDIs instead of nebulizers. Also, we do not disconnect the circuit to suction, and use in line suction catheters instead.

Another key is the daily sedation protocol. Every night around 2 a.m. we automatically take all our patients off sedation so that by 6 a.m. we can analyze the patient for readiness to wean.

Here comes another laminated sheet. As part of our ventilator protocol we have a sheet that acts as an algorithm to speed time from intubation to extubation. Actually, the key to a good extubation protocol is that as soon as the patient is intubated we start thinking about extubation.

If the patient can be extubated in 2 hours, now that's possible. Years ago if the attending went on vacation the other doctors didn't extubate because they didn't want to offend the attending. Sometimes we RTs would wonder why the patient was still intubated. Now, that never happens, or rarely happens.

Our Algorithm goes something like this:

Weaning Screen:
  1. FiO2 less than or equal to 40%
  2. PEEP less than or equal to 5
  3. HR greater than 50 or less than 120
  4. Temp. less than 100.5
  5. SpO2 greater than 90 unless otherwise directed by physician
  6. Systolic BP greater than 90
  7. Minimal or no sedation
  8. No Vasopressors
  9. No signs of respiratory distress
  10. Able to follow commands
  11. Adequate cough
  12. Secretion thin and minimal
  13. Plateau pressure less than 30 cwp
If the answer is no, then you stop and reanalyze the next day. If the answer is yes, then you move on to the next step, which is to do a 5 minute spontaneous breathing trial (SBT). (ETT 8.0 or greater use a CPAP of 5 and PSV of 0, ETT 7.5 or smaller use CPAP of 5 and PSV of 5)

Now you do a second weaning screen based on the same criteria as above.

If the patient fails the screen, the SBT is stopped and patient returned to previous settings.
If the patient passes, the following is completed and analyzed:
  1. NIF greater than 20
  2. VC greater than 10 ml/kg
  3. VT greater than 5
  4. RR less than 30
  5. VE greater than 5 and less than 15
  6. RSBI (f/vt) less than 100
If the patient passes this criteria, continue SBT for 30-120 minutes. Then do another weening screen as mentioned above. If patient passes do an ABG and call physician for order to extubate.

So basically we no longer simply do weaning parameters every day, we are actually completely assessing the patient using the common sense, best practice evidence approach. Patients are getting extubated quicker, and VAP is now pretty much nonexistent at our hospital.

Another key is education. As soon as the pnuem order set is initiated the emergency nurse educates the patient about pneumonia. Then the nurse on the floor educates the patient, and then the RT is in the room every six hours, and he or she educates the patient some more.

We make sure not only do our patients learn about pneumonia, they also know about their disease. For example, if they have COPD we make sure they know the early warning signs of an exacerbation so they can nip it in the bud next time and don't have to be readmitted.

We make sure they know if they start to get more short of breath than usual, or have increased cough or sputum production, or change in color of sputum, that they call their doctor or come into the emergency room.

Plus, as soon as pneumonia order set is entered in the computer, an order for RT to do smoking cessation is printed off in the RT department. Several studies show that if when a patient is vulnerable, when he's sick in the hospital, that if someone nudges them to quit they are more likely to quit.

And then when the patient is discharged another paper is printed off that is a pneuminia fact sheet for the patient to take home with them. It is basically a reinforcement of everything they've learned about pneumonia, and is reviewed by the discharge planner.

It's also a reminder to the RN to make sure the patient has had his vaccines while admitted, and to reinforce to the patient that they get their annual pneumonia and flu vaccines.

So basically the pneumonia order set is our hymn book: it gets everyone on the same page from the RT to lab to nurse and x-ray and lab and doctor. We all know exactly what our role is for that patient

Another thing we have an emphasis no is good hand washing. We have signs over every sink that remind of the importance of hand washing. Another sign over every sink describes proper hand washing technique.

We also have hand sanitizer in every room and in various locations, and we encourage or professionals to use this between every patient, and after touching anything in the room, and before touching anything even on their own possession. We also encourage use of hand sanitizers before leaving the room, even if they ultimately wash their hands.

We have some of our nurses are anonymous spies who make note of who they see not washing their hands, or not doing so correctly. We have other pamphlets around the hospital that remind nurses, RTs, and even patients to keep your eyes open, and "It's okay to ask."

So good hand washing is key to preventing the spread of infection.

Another bonus at Shoreline is we are a close nit hospital. This results in really good communication. For example, if I'm in the room and I see something wrong with the patient, I talk to the nurse or sometimes I go right to the doctor.

Instead of the nurses calling the doctor and assuming they know what's wrong with the patient, they often call RT instead so we can use our experience and education to work with the nurse in deciding what needs to be done.

Likewise, many times the doctor calls me up and asks me what I'm thinking is wrong with the patient and what we should do. This is great for morale.

We also have a Rapid Response Team. And another thing is we have good support and encouragement. For example, if an RN calls me to assess a patient, and the patient is fine when I get their, is on the crapper or something, I don't say, "You stupid dummy. Why did you waste my time?"

Instead I say, "Hey, that's fine. You were being proactive. That's good. It's better to be safe than sorry. You did great."

Besides, it's better to be proactive than reactive. If you're proactive you are nipping it in the bud. If you're proactive you may stop the problem from occuring, and then you get no credit. But it's better to be proactive and get no credit becasue the problem never occured, than to be reactive. If you're reactive, that means the problem already occured.

It means the patient is already septic, or in failure, or whatever. If you're being reactive, it means the patient is already in need of critical care services, and may need to be in the hospital longer, and cost the hospital more. If your'e proactive, that means improved outcomes and reduced costs.

So it's better to be proactive than reactive.

So starting with the core measures, the keystone collaborative and weekly keystone meetings, to the pneumonia bundle, and then with the small town close nit touch, we have been able to get all of our priorities in order here at Shoreline Medical. That's how we did it.

Thank you. Any questions.

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