Patient safety innovations routinely emerge from frontline staff, but the road from suggestion to implementation is rarely rapid. At Hebrew Rehabilitation Center’s Medical Acute Care Unit in Boston, a long-term acute-care unit, a simple blue idea board has sped things up, and led to improvements in safely transporting patients to radiology.
Moving patients to and from radiology appointments was a growing concern for staff, but managers didn’t know about the potential risk to patients because frontline caregivers had developed work-arounds. “We learned the staff was having difficulty transporting patients in a timely manner,” explained Sarah Sjostrom, MSN, RN, ACNP-BC, director of Nursing and Respiratory Care Services. “They might pull people off the floor for help, and this created a less safe environment for other patients on the unit. When the issue went up on the board, there was an overwhelming chorus of people who said, ‘Yes this is a problem.’ ”
The unit’s experience offers several lessons in how simple, low-cost steps can lead to safety gains.
First is the idea board itself, which went up in 2015. It is as basic as it gets — four long columns with headers, organized like this: