Leaders in healthcare organizations need to pay attention to analyzing problems associated with clinical practice in order to choose and implement change projects. The focus should be on achieving high results in overcoming the identified problem with the help of the implemented change. The purpose of this paper is to identify the change project topic and propose the framework to address the problem and implement the change.
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Change Project Topic and Clinical Setting
The lack of effective communication between members of healthcare teams and problems with exchanging data between hospital departments are associated with weaknesses in leadership and teamwork. In the Emergency Department (ED) of Texas Health Hospital located in Carrollton, Texas, nurses and healthcare providers cause long wait times and delays in work with patients because of problems with communicating, as well as using and exchanging standardized patient data. To implement the change in the ED of Texas Health Hospital and improve the practice, it is possible to apply the principles of the TeamSTEPPS framework (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2013; Brand et al., 2015).
How the Topic Was Determined
The change project topic associated with the necessity of improving the communication between healthcare teams in the ED of Texas Health Hospital was determined after analyzing causes of long wait times in the ED and cases of patients’ walkouts. To decide about the causes of the problem, it was necessary to use such decision-making tools as mind maps and cause-and-effect diagrams (Eberhardt, 2014). They have helped identify the causes of the problem and decide on the further steps to take.
Long wait times in the ED are usually discussed as challenges for healthcare providers. The problem is in the weak communication and data exchange between nurses from different departments (Meisel et al., 2015). Furthermore, the problem is often in the absence of a standardized procedure to fill in and exchange nursing reports (Eberhardt, 2014). As a result, there is a high risk of handoff mistakes (Meisel et al., 2015).
The TeamSTEPPS framework is applied in many healthcare organizations as a complex approach to implementing a positive change. Experts propose improving team structures, communication with the help of SBAR and handoff protocols, leadership, and situational monitoring (Brand et al., 2015). For the context of Texas Health Hospital, much attention should be paid to developing leadership and the work of teams, as well as using SBAR and handoff protocols as part of a structured communication process.
Definition of Project Success
After implementing the principles of the TeamSTEPPS framework with the focus on improving communication between nurses and healthcare providers, project leaders will expect the effective use of SBAR and handoff protocols, the decreased number of mistakes in shared patient data, the decreased wait times in the ED, and the improved patient care.
In the Emergency Department of Texas Health Hospital located in Carrollton, Texas, patients’ wait times are prolonged, and nurses spend much time on exchanging data between departments to provide care in the most efficient manner. As a result, there are cases of patients’ walkouts and mistakes in shared protocols. After analyzing the situation, it is possible to state that the problem is in the weak organization of healthcare providers’ work in the ED, ineffective leadership, inappropriate teamwork, and the lack of standardized protocols to share data between departments.
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In order to organize and implement the change project in Texas Health Hospital, it is necessary to apply the principles of the TeamSTEPPS framework with the focus on changing structures of teams, developing leadership abilities of team leaders, organizing situational monitoring, and guaranteeing the mutual support in teams. However, the priority of the change project is the improvement of communication between team members and healthcare providers from different departments with the help of applying effective SBAR and handoff protocols to ensure the quick exchange of standardized patient data.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2013). Pocket guide: Team strategies & tools to enhance performance and patient safety. Web.
Brand, S. I., Slee, K. M., Chang, Y. H., Cheng, M. R., Lipinski, C. A., Arnold, R. R., & Traub, S. J. (2015). Team strategies and tools to enhance performance and patient safety training: The effect of training on both nursing staff perceptions regarding physician behaviors and patient satisfaction scores in the ED. Journal of Hospital Administration, 4(2), 48-53.
Eberhardt, S. (2014). Improve handoff communication with SBAR. Nursing, 44(11), 17-20.
Meisel, Z. F., Shea, J. A., Peacock, N. J., Dickinson, E. T., Paciotti, B., Bhatia, R.,… Cannuscio, C. C. (2015). Optimizing the patient handoff between emergency medical services and the emergency department. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 65(3), 310-317.