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Posted December 02, 2014

High Impact Tools in 10 Minutes or Less

By Jackie Gaines, MS, RN

How many times have you said to yourself, “I wish I had more time”? We all do! The reality is that often it’s not the amount of time that is at issue, but how we use the time we have to yield the greatest results. As leaders, we are constantly asked to do more with less resources, so every minute has to be value added and not time wasted in ineffective processes. We must prioritize those tactics that have the biggest impact. The good news is, you already have many of these tools in your leadership tool box. Front end effort will save you a lot of wasted time on the back end. Below are four tools and tactics that don’t take a lot of time but have a high impact.

Rounding for Outcomes (5 minute interaction)
Rounding is one of the most powerful tools in your tool box. It allows leaders to proactively engage, listen, communicate, build relationships and support our most important customers – our staff and our patients. Quality outcomes are built on relationships and the information gathered during rounding can be used for coaching opportunities and to directly drive results.

  • Rounding on Patients and Families
    • Nurse Leader Rounding and Hourly Rounding® contribute to efficiency by getting in front of patient and family needs, instead of waiting to react. This directly impacts quality outcomes like fall rates, decubitus ulcer, pain management, medication errors, and the patient’s perception of care.
  • Rounding on Employees
    • Remember, the goal of rounding on employees is to capture important information to act upon, including reward and recognition and process improvement. 
    • There is a high correlation between employee engagement results and quality outcomes.
    • Employee engagement is also correlated with turnover rates - the lower the engagement, the higher the turnover. Turnover increases variance in execution and performance. 
Rounding will inform and impact results:
  • Watch for trends and compare to trends in results.
  • Integrate review into regular meetings with direct reports.
  • Develop action plans to address variances and to positively impact results.
  • Hold direct reports accountable for the actions.

Leaders can streamline the rounding process to make it more effective and efficient with MyRounding. It aligns directly to organization’s rounding goals and objectives and is proven to engage staff, physicians and patients. Learn more about MyRounding.

AIDET® (5 minutes or less)
Don’t underestimate the power of AIDET®. The one common denominator of all patients, no matter where they enter the health care system, is fear and anxiety. If that fear and anxiety is elevated, it can directly impact the patient’s ability to “hear” care providers and in turn, clinical compliance decreases. AIDET® not only positively impacts that fear/anxiety factor, but it also is proven to improve clinical outcomes and the patient’s perception of care.

Learn more about AIDET®, access guidelines and key words by area and develop your own worksheet.

Employee Huddles (5-10 minutes at least 2 times per day)
Huddles are a powerful team builder and accelerator for consistency in execution. In short, it allows the team to “get on the same page” related to the day’s priorities. In just a short 5-10 minutes, the leader can align the staff to unit/departmental goals, progress to date, connect to purpose and reward and recognize accomplishments. The team is re-energized, focused and ready to go.

Huddles are not done on the fly. They have a designated time, an agenda, a dashboard to reference and an expectation for all to attend (unless caring for patients). Use a timer if you need to so these huddles don’t turn into staff meetings. Learn about a best practice for daily huddles in the Emergency Department.

Post-Visit/Care Transition Phone Calls (5 minutes)
Post-visit phone calls connect staff with patients after their visit to confirm compliance and understanding of instructions, demonstrate empathy, capture recognition and afford an opportunity for service recovery. The outcomes of hardwiring post-visit calls include:

  • Increased compliance with post-visit instructions
  • Reduced readmissions
  • Decreased complaints and claims
  • Increased employee and physician satisfaction
  • Increased patient's perception of care 

Studer Group coaches bring their expertise to the table and work with healthcare organizations to determine the call frequency that will have the biggest impact on reducing readmissions, in addition to the impact of individual questions. As a strong proponent of patient-centered care, we have found that Patient Call Manager: The Clinical Call System (PCM), is one of our most important tools for making patients an integral part of the collaborative care team. It is designed to extend care outside the hospital walls—both before patients enter your hospital or practice, and after they go home.

As busy healthcare professionals, it’s sometimes hard to know which area to focus on first. Try not to let these powerful tools become an option on your list of things to do. Quality is the precursor of outstanding results, not quantity. Use your 5-10 minutes wisely as they can make a big difference.

Jackie Gaines is author of the book, Wait a Hot Minute: How to Manage Your Life with the Minutes You Have, available from Fire Starter Publishing.

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