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What we’ve learned in delivering healthcare improvement

Published 14/04/2022

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This isn’t our first foray into targeted healthcare improvement. As Executive Director Improvement Rebecca Power writes, we have an earlier track record in partnering with clinicians to deliver incredible results. 

Rebecca Power

Before we partnered with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Safer Care Victoria was already running smaller scale improvement projects with the sector.

Looking back, we had the essentials of quality improvement and a very strong focus on partnering with clinicians to identify targeted improvement and develop practical resources.

But we learned a lot too. We have certainly come a long way in terms of supporting consumers to be part of every project we run, strengthening our methodology, and prioritising improvements across the sector for the greatest impact.

And you can see this in the projects we have selected to be part of 100,000 Lives.

To date, we’ve run more than 50 improvement projects through our clinical networks, each driven by data and informed by clinical and consumer experts. Each had a clear problem to address and trialled a potential solution. And each measured their outcomes.

Let’s look at just one example – our Reducing paediatric readmissions after a tonsillectomy project.

Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are the most common surgical procedures in childhood, with over 12,000 procedures in Victoria a year. These procedures are the most common reason for children to be readmitted after a surgical procedure.

So we partnered with five health services to test and adapt a change package to reduce rates of readmission following paediatric tonsillectomy. This included information sheets for parents on what to expect before and after surgery, at home pain management guidance and a standard phone script for family enquiries.

Liz Brown, Nurse Manager Royal Children’s Hospital said "We attended workshops provided by Safer Care Victoria to learn skills involved in data collection and change management. These workshops allowed us to meet other teams, share ideas, gain ‘tips and tricks’ from the SCV team and present our data.

"Data collected during this project was used to show the reduction in readmissions post tonsillectomy. Consumer feedback also showed the information developed during the project provided the support and written guidance families needed."

After the nine-month project, health services recorded a 15 per cent reduction in readmissions following paediatric tonsillectomy. And families were more satisfied with the support they received.

From this early work we could see how much health services were invested in improving the quality and safety of care, and how eager healthcare workers were to look for new ideas to solve common barriers and risks.

And that holds us in great stead as we progress towards our most ambitious target yet in 100,000 Lives.

Rebecca Power is our Executive Director of Improvement.

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