Jessie Rodrigue (left), Operations Director, Surgical Services, accepted the HEABC Award for Top Innovation in a Health Authority on behalf of the VGH team, from Betsy Gibbons, HEABC Board Chair, and Michael McMillan, HEABC President and CEO.

HEABC awards VGH team for innovation

The VGH Cardiac Surgery Quality Improvement (QI) Working Group has another reason to take pride in their accomplishments. On June 26, at the 2017 BC Health Care Awards, the team walked away with an Award of Merit in the Top Innovation – Health Authority category for their ground-breaking work.

Using data collected by the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP), the multidisciplinary group implemented new practices to prevent surgical site infections (SSIs) and improve surgical outcomes of cardiac patients.

As a result, VGH has virtually halved its cardiac SSI rate from 7 to 8 per cent in 2013 to 3.8 per cent in 2015.

“We’ve reduced adverse effects for cardiac patients during their hospital stay and improved their outcomes,” says Jessie Rodrigue, operations director, surgical services. “Most cardiac centres in B.C. have now adopted or modified our approach. It’s very rewarding to see our success used and shared with other hospitals.”

Heart of the matter

Complementing established practices to reduce SSIs, the working group initiated new practices spanning different points of patient care, including the use of antibiotics, post-operative patient warming and new dressing protocols and products.

For example, adoption of a new silicone-based surgical dressing to reduce skin tears, and the decision to leave the dressing on for 72 instead of the standard 48 hours after surgery, showed positive results. Addressing the link between lower body temperature and infection, patients were warmed faster following cardiac bypass and new diet guidelines helped to manage hyperglycemia, which increases the risk of SSIs.

In addition to sparing patients unnecessary infections and harm, the team saved VCH the expense of treat SSIs — a cost of approximately $30,000 per infection.

“The award is for the entire team,” says Jessie. “From those working on the frontlines to our leadership — everyone who was part of the project deserves this recognition. Our thanks go to Vancouver Coastal Health for putting our name forward for the HEABC award. It’s a great way to show that hard work pays dividends and that it’s appreciated.”

Congratulations to the working group

Juliet Atherstone Natalie Barlow Kelly Barr
Krista Botkin Wendy Bowles Patricia Choy
Rita Dekleer Barbara Drake Alison Henderson
Jennifer Kelly Michelle Kent Dr. Rael Klein
Dr. Tim Lau Daniel Leigh Jamie McDowell
Tamara Miller Jorge Miranda Howard Paje
Elinor Orsini Tina Oye Jessie Rodrigue
Dr. Peter Skarsgard Patrick Teodosio Emily Trew
Kirsten Vint Markus Zurburg

More Vancouver winners

Vancouver is proud to boast more HEABC award winners in our midst. Read this article about the other winners as well as an article about the provincial Health Care Hero Dianna Mah-Jones.


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