St. Louis hospital creates unit to improve outcomes through innovation

Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis has created a 21-bed neurological unit to examine whether new ways of providing care can improve outcomes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The team, hired especially for the unit, is testing ideas from other units, such as getting critically ill patients up and moving around sooner, according to the article. Previous tests indicated the protocol resulted in patients leaving the hospital one day earlier while reducing susceptibility to complications such as blood clots.

Part of the neuro unit's focus will be to start earlier in the process to educate patients about what to expect during treatment, thus leading to a better outcome. To do that, the nurses who will care for the patient after a procedure meet with the patient at the doctor's office before surgery, according to the article. They'll also give patients information that explains what to expect at every step, including expected milestones and blank pages for goal setting.

Lessons learned in the new unit will be applied across the hospital system, officials told the paper.

Hospitals are scrambling to find ways to improve outcomes. A study published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine found that multidisciplinary accountable care teams could reduce the length of stay and cut costs. Other research indicates that simple efforts to improve patient experience sharpen performance across all hospital departments and increases a hospital's connection with the community, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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