5 Elements of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital's Clinical Integration Program

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Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., has been developing and improving it clinical integration program for the last 10 years. Learn about the five elements of its program.

Michael McKenna, MD

clinical integration is needed to facilitate the coordination of patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time in order to achieve care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-focused.

Hospitals have been working on building and improving clinical integration programs for nearly a decade. According to the American Hospital Association, "clinical integration is needed to facilitate the coordination of patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time in order to achieve care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-focused."

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., has been developing and improving it clinical integration program for the last 10 years.

"Clinical integration is really leading us down the path of evolving into a highly reliable organization that develops the right care model to get the best possible outcomes," said Michael McKenna, MD, vice president of medical management at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital.

"We have five elements to our clinical integration program," said McKenna. "The first element is that we achieved the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Magnet status. We offer patient care delivery models that are very effective in regards to nursing."

McKenna said the second element to Advocate Lutheran General's clinical integration program includes improving communication among caregivers. This is particularly important because the Joint Commission has cited communication breakdown as the single greatest contributing factor to sentinel events and delays in care in U.S. hospitals.

"We have to have very effective means of communication that are both timely and accurate," said McKenna." For example, if you look at patient safety events, the most common thread that goes through them is communication errors. People either didn't communicate, had trouble communicating, or some aspect of that."

Advocate Lutheran General Hospital chose PerfectServe's clinical communications system to improve communication among its nurses, physicians, and hospital staff. "The PerfectServe system--which makes it extremely easy to find a physician and offers numerous ways to leave messages or get information to a doctor--will fit in well with our strategy," said McKenna.

"PerfectServe will help us in the hospital by making it more efficient for our nurses," said McKenna. "A large part of every day is taken up trying to contact people, and PerfectServe streamlines it and makes it easier for nurses and other healthcare workers to contact each other."

The third area of Advocate Lutheran General's clinical integration program includes information technology. McKenna said it's very important to ensure that Advocate Lutheran General Hospital is providing physicians the right level of support.

"When physicians come to work here, we want it to be an easier place to get things done, more reliable, higher safety, and higher satisfaction," said McKenna.

The fourth element to Advocate Lutheran General's clinical integration program relates to the physician hospital organization, and how committed the organization is to providing, contracting, pay-for-performance, and outcomes.

The final element to Advocate Lutheran General's clinical integration program relates to overall quality. "We're committed through our physician hospital organization and other elements of the program to provide the highest level of care possible," said McKenna.

An effective clinical integration program can lead a hospital down the path of becoming an accountable care organization (ACO).

"Advocate is becoming an ACO, and ACOs have to reliably get information and data to clinicians to deliver care," said McKenna. "We have to have ways we can communicate with each other in a timely and reliable fashion. Our clinical integration program shows that we're committed to making Lutheran General the best place for physicians to practice in the northern part of Chicago."

About Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
Lutheran General is part of the largest health care systems in the state of Illinois and one of the largest hospitals in the Chicago area. Named one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation, Lutheran General is a 645-bed tertiary, academic and research hospital, and a Level I trauma center. It is also home to Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital, one of the most comprehensive providers of pediatric care in the state.

About PerfectServe
PerfectServe offers intelligent voice, online and mobile clinical communication solutions that route calls and messages to the right doctor, at the right time. It gives physicians complete control over the communications they receive while enabling hospital clinicians to expedite and improve care coordination. Based in Knoxville, Tenn., PerfectServe processes more than 30 million clinical communication interactions each year involving nearly 16,000 physicians in 154 markets across the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.perfectserve.com.

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