Mothers-to-be are benefiting from significant improvements in Obstetrics (OB) Triage at Christiana Hospital, improvements that make women’s health care more convenient, efficient and effective for patients and their families.
OB Triage, which provides 24/7 emergency assessment and care for pregnant women and women with gynecologic problems, is now larger and more welcoming, after a newly completed renovation of the waiting area and patient treatment areas and the addition of on-site ultrasound testing. Christiana Care Health System is one of the highest-volume delivering hospitals in the U.S., with more than 6,000 babies born here each year.
“Triage plays a critical role as a safety net for pregnant women who are concerned about fetal movement, signs of labor and many other concerns,” said Sherry A. Monson, MSN, MBA, RN, vice president of Women’s and Children’s Services. “The new Triage area strengthens our ability to help patients achieve optimal health for themselves and their babies and have an exceptional care experience.”
At a ribbon-cutting for OB Triage, Gary Ferguson, chief operating officer, acknowledged the efforts of Christiana Care staff who formed a value-improvement team to gather input from patients, families and staff and translated that feedback into expert care that patients value. “You are incredible champions for improving what we do for our patients,” Ferguson said.
To identify ways to make care more efficient, the value-improvement team used Lean Six Sigma processes that emphasized setting clear objectives, collecting data and analyzing results to streamline the delivery of services.
“OB Triage is making our vision of seamless, expert care a reality, from the patient arriving at the hospital through the postpartum period,” said Richard J. Derman, M.D., MPH, FACOG, the Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The experience starts with a new waiting room, designed with soothing, muted tones and outfitted with a wall of frosted glass for privacy. Wider chairs comfortably accommodate women in later stages of pregnancy. Patient flow has improved with the addition of five new triage rooms — for a total of 15 — and a more efficient process for assessments and discharges. A multidisciplinary team now interacts together with patients.
“Previously, the patient was evaluated multiple times, with multiple people asking the same questions,” said Dawn Johnson, BSN, RNC-OB, nurse manager. “With synchronized assessments and discharges, everyone goes into the room at the same time.”
The most dramatic improvement is the addition of a dedicated triage ultrasound suite, which has greatly reduced wait time for diagnostic testing. Previously, staff called for escorts to transport patients to a central test center and back, a process that could take as long as two hours.
The new arrangement is convenient and enhances care and the patient experience, said Maria Soler, M.D., MPH, MBA, medical director for OB Triage. “I can communicate directly with the ultrasound technician and say ‘this is what I am looking for,’” she said. “We get our results much more quickly, which is much better for our patients.”
Patients are noticing, said Dr. Soler. “We are receiving compliments about the look of the Triage waiting room and treatment areas, and most of all about how quickly patients are seen and treated. Our new patient flow is already making a difference for our patients.”