Leadership Corner: Simulations, Tracers Prepare Members for Real-life Situations

Posted on April 04, 2019

The Leadership Corner features monthly updates from the MHA leadership team. The updates will provide new insights to patient safety and quality as well as information obtained from healthcare workshops and conferences across the country.

Michelle Norcross, MSA, senior director of safety and quality, MHA Keystone Center, discusses how simulations and tracers provide a realistic, safe environment to practice real-life situations and improve care.

Michelle NorcrossLiterature shows high-fidelity simulation is associated with improved interpersonal communication and critical thinking skills, as well as better clinical reasoning in complex care situations and team performance during crisis. High-fidelity simulations use manikins that look, feel and respond like humans (e.g. reactive pupils, pulse, heartbeat, etc.) and can simulate real-life scenarios.

Based on this knowledge, the MHA Keystone Center, as part of the Great Lakes Partners for Patients Hospital Improvement Innovation Network, worked with sepsis expert Patricia Posa, RN, BSN, MSA, FAAN, quality excellence leader, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, to develop simulations focused on sepsis mortality reduction, improved early identification and treatment, and strengthen sepsis programs. 

In 2017, the MHA Keystone Center held five sepsis simulations for its Michigan hospitals. The success of these events caused the organization to offer additional simulations in 2018.

In 2017, the MHA Keystone Center also worked with Posa to develop sepsis tracers to help hospitals walk through a patient’s entire hospital experience. Tracers are individualized visits within a hospital that use a walk-through process, from the patient’s arrival to discharge, to better understand delivery of care methods and provide insight on opportunities to improve within the continuum of care. Tracers have allowed the MHA Keystone Center to analyze an organization’s system of providing care, treatment or services using mock patients to understand care delivery methods and provide insight on opportunities within the continuum of care that are supported by evidence-based, best practices.  

Initial data analysis on the sepsis efforts shows a promising correlation between sepsis simulation or tracer participation and a reduction in sepsis mortality and/or post-operative sepsis. Future data will hopefully continue this correlation.

The MHA Keystone Center has spread its simulations and tracers across Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Simulations and tracers on other topics also have been added, such as critical care and falls. 

Because of the value participants found in these efforts, the MHA Keystone Center has considered ways to sustain these meaningful activities for its members.

The MHA Keystone Center Spring Workshop will be held May 30 at The Henry, Autograph Collection, in Dearborn, MI. This exciting, one-day event will be dedicated to sharing knowledge, skills and resources on sepsis and critical care simulations, sepsis tracers, low-fidelity simulations and implementation. 

Attendees will hear from experts in the field including Pat Posa, RN, BSN, MSA, FAAN; Bruno DiGiovine, MD, pulmonologist; and Jeffrey Vlasic, MD, MS, partner, Vlasic & Roth, LLC. 

Registration is now open. We hope all clinical educators; sepsis coordinators; simulation technicians; graduate medical education coordinators; and quality, patient safety and frontline staff can join us for this fantastic opportunity to take these programs back to their organizations and make a meaningful impact.

This article was featured in the MHA Keystone Center Newsletter. To subscribe, please contact Ashley Sandborn, MHA Keystone Center communications specialist.


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  • Leadership Corner: Simulations, Tracers Prepare Members for Real-life Situations

Tags: GLPP HIIN, Keystone Center Spring Workshop, simulations, Leadership Corner, Michelle Norcross

Posted in: MHA Rounds, Patient Safety & Quality

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