Texas Health HEB Recognized for Patient Safety
in National Performance Project

One of only five hospitals recognized nationally

BEDFORD, TEXAS, Aug. 11, 2015 Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford is one of only five health care facilities nationwide honored with the 2015 Premier AEIX Risk Management Award for creating practices to promote patient safety and enhance the quality of care.

The award was presented by the Premier national health care alliance for Texas Health HEB’s project to standardize the process for collecting blood samples and reduce blood culture contamination in the hospital’s emergency department.  The project has resulted in reduced collection of unnecessary samples and a blood culture contamination rate well below the national average.

“At Texas Health HEB we are focused each day on reducing risk and improving care quality to achieve better outcomes,” said Deborah Paganelli, hospital president. “This award recognizes our efforts to continually create innovative ways to enhance care delivery and share those best practices with other providers.”

The project was a team effort between Texas Health HEB’s medical laboratory and emergency department. The team identified areas for improvement in blood sample collection, implemented changes and studied the modifications over time to determine effectiveness.

Changes successfully implemented included staffing a lab phlebotomist in the emergency department to perform blood culture collection and assist with difficult blood draws. This helps enable nurses to focus on critical care, knowing blood collection is in progress.

The team also changed blood culture draw procedures to eliminate sample collections at the start of intravenous (IV) therapy. This helped result in reduction in the emergency department’s blood culture contamination rate to less than 2 percent during 12 of the past 18 months, compared to the industry standard of 3 percent recognized by microbiology specialists and infectious disease practitioners. The team continues to focus on achieving the 2 percent goal.

The project included teaching staff to explain to patients the importance of a separate “stick” for the blood drawn, in addition to the IV therapy, to help reduce the risks of contamination.           

Other process improvements included reduced collection of unnecessary blood samples and improved staff understanding of the importance of the proper order of blood draw by color-coded tube to help prevent contamination of samples.

Texas Health HEB laboratory director Sharon Harris and emergency department nurse Kerry Miller shared lessons learned from the project at the 2015 Premier Breakthroughs Conference and Exhibition, held June 23-26 in National Harbor, Md.  Texas Health HEB also received the award at the conference, an annual exhibition for the 3,400 leading health systems and hospitals that comprise the Premier alliance. 

“It’s gratifying that our project to reduce blood culture contamination in the emergency department not only benefits our patients and staff members, but also health care organizations nationwide through the Premier alliance,” said Harris.

Along with Texas Health HEB, Texas Health Harris Methodist Alliance and Texas Health Harris Methodist Southwest Fort Worth were among the five hospitals nationwide to receive the 2015 Premier AEIX Risk Management Award.

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