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For Gail Tsimprea, PhD, safety and quality management are driven as much by compassion, communication, and collaboration as by metrics and benchmarking.
Chief Quality and Risk Management Officer at McLean Hospital since 2007, Tsimprea developed the hospital’s quality assurance program using a comprehensive schematic that incorporates analysis and oversight by all stakeholders in the McLean community, from the Board of Trustees to pharmacy personnel, communications officers to leaders in education, and facilities managers to patients and families. Together they have forged a unique partnership.
“Quality is everybody’s responsibility no matter what their role is at the hospital,” said Tsimprea. She joined the McLean staff in 1980, planning to stay just a year, but then “fell in love with the mission.” As Tsimprea was quick to emphasize, “Everybody owns quality.”
Indeed, it’s that all-inclusive approach that has enabled McLean to set the bar on quality of care for institutions around the world. Mental health leaders from Michigan to Abu Dhabi have requested Tsimprea’s help in implementing McLean’s quality program in their own facilities.
At the heart of that program are six data-driven teams, each responsible for continuous quality improvement in areas ranging from Patient Fall Prevention to the Care Experience itself.
For instance, consider the Patient Fall Prevention team. Its members—nurses, physicians, a pharmacist, and a physical therapist—monitor falls on the geriatric and other clinical units and feed information, such as the time and place of falls and the number of staff on duty, into a state-of-the-art electronic incident-reporting system. From there, the team, guided by Tsimprea and with input from additional assessment committees, uncovers trends and generates initiatives to improve care. Recent interventions include low-to-the-ground beds for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. “Data by itself—if you don’t do anything with it—is not helpful,” said Tsimprea.
That emphasis on technology in service to McLean’s mission is reflected as much in Tsimprea’s “open-door policy” regarding consumer and staff feedback as in new patient satisfaction initiatives.
New quality assurance efforts are complemented by successful ongoing ones, among them the clinical quality rounds that Tsimprea launched five years ago. Quarterly, five teams visit each clinical program to assess variables such as medical record documentation and the physical environment. “Most important, the rounds enable us to interact with staff and patients to learn what works and what could be improved,” said Tsimprea.
“We’ve always focused on quality of care at McLean—assessment, research into solutions, and improvements are the crux of what we do,” noted Tsimprea. “With the new technology, we now have a more sophisticated and efficient way to measure it.”