A Waynesburg University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student and three faculty members recently joined forces with a representative from Southwest Regional Medical Center (SRMC) in an effort to decrease readmission rates at the hospital through the implementation of the Re-Engineered Discharge (RED) Toolkit.
Through the quality-improvement project, the team was able to reduce readmissions at SRMC to 8 percent, which is significantly less than the national rate of 19 percent. Readmission, as defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is a return hospitalization to an acute care hospital following a prior acute care admission within 30 days of discharge.
Dr. Carol J. Adams, now a graduate of the University’s DNP Program, led the team. The project was her DNP Program capstone project. Dr. Kimberly Stephens and Dr. Kimberly Whiteman, co-directors of the DNP Program and assistant professors of nursing at the University, and Hal Kersteen, a part-time faculty member, along with Jeanne Katruska, director of case management at Southwest Regional Medical Center, collaborated on the project.
An article detailing the project was recently published in the July 2014 edition of “Quality Management in Health Care.” The article, “Implementation of the Re-Engineered Discharge (RED) Toolkit to Decrease All-Cause Readmission Rates at a Rural Community Hospital,” states that the project aimed to:
- Use the methodology outlined by Joint Commission Resources-Hospital Engagement Network and Project Re-Engineered Discharge (Project RED) to redesign the discharge process,
- Reduce hospital 30-day all-cause readmission rates, and
- Improve patient/family involvement in the discharge process.
“The partnership with Waynesburg University provided valuable insight to the discharge process, which has the potential to benefit many other hospitals,” explained Katruska. “We are proud of the progress we made and continue to see readmission rates, which are significantly less than national averages. The process aligns perfectly with our commitment to continually improve the quality of care we provide to patients in our community.”
As part of Waynesburg’s DNP Program, students are required to lead an evidence-based practice change throughout a healthcare system that affects patient outcomes.
“Carol worked with the University, the hospital and the Joint Commission to implement a program that improved the discharge process and decreased hospital readmission rates,” said Dr. Whiteman. “I am very proud of Carol’s work and the outcomes achieved for patients and Southwest Regional Medical Center as a result of her work.”
Waynesburg University established its fully accredited DNP Program in 2007 as one of the first 25 DNP programs in the United States.
The University’s DNP Program differs from Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs because the focus is on evidence-based practice and systems leadership that has an immediate impact on the quality of health care delivery; graduates from traditional Ph.D. programs develop programs of original research.
According to Dr. Nancy Mosser, professor of nursing and chair of the Department of Nursing at Waynesburg University, Waynesburg’s DNP Program serves as a natural extension to the University’s Master of Science in Nursing degree program with a concentration in administration, but also is appropriate for those with education, informatics and advanced practice backgrounds.
“In this program, students enhance their understanding of principles of leadership and are ready to assume an active role in promoting the highest quality health care delivery from a values-based perspective,” Mosser said.
Among the students in the University’s DNP Program are administrators, educators, executive leaders, certified registered nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists from all over the country.
Founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Waynesburg University is located on a traditional campus in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania, with three adult centers located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and is one of only 23 Bonner Scholar schools in the country, offering local, regional and international opportunities to touch the lives of others through service.
Southwest Regional Medical Center is Greene County’s only acute care hospital. The facility has 49-beds and offers 24-hour emergency services, a full range of diagnostic imaging specialties, a fully accredited laboratory, cardiology services, hyperbaric wound care and home health services. Southwest Regional Medical Center is also accredited by The Joint Commission.
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Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor
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