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HomeminewsVHG’s 360-Degree Approach to Quality and Safety

VHG’s 360-Degree Approach to Quality and Safety

(L to R) - Kylie Bennett, Constance Chitambo (Panch NUM), Kila Lua (Panch DON) and Sue Dodgson (Rivercity DON).

Kylie Bennett combined her love of nursing, patient care and internal processes (gathered over 20 years in some of Australia’s best known healthcare organisations) when she became Vision Hospital Group’s National Director of Nursing and National Quality and Safety Manager. A dual role like this was an unusual move for the industry but, as it turns out, the right one for an organisation with 11 day hospitals across four states.

An Investment with Valuable Returns

Investing in quality, safety and risk management has always been a priority for VHG (and parent company Vision Eye Institute), says Ms Bennett. ‘This is evident in the way the business has been structured internally, so support is provided as a whole, rather than fragmented.’

Feeling safe to speak up, and being encouraged to do so, naturally develops mindsets that are more receptive and proactive.

The Directors of Nursing (DONs) remain integral at the site level to set and meet strict quality and safety standards, says Ms Bennett. ‘However, leading a day hospital can be lonely, challenging, complex and intense. VHG’s Executive Leadership Team believes leaning in with support is a win-win for everyone. Hence, my roles at a national level and our locally based quality coordinators.’

Kylie Bennett and Sue Dodgson with Anne and Wendy from Windsor Gardens Day Surgery.

Ms Bennett thinks it would be hard for DONs to achieve the same level of feedback, reflection and improvement without a structure similar to VHG’s. ‘I meet with them individually and as a team online regularly, and I would generally visit each facility once every quarter and during audits.

‘We have created a close-knit group with a safe forum for open discussion, knowledge sharing, feedback, and brainstorming solutions.

Feeling safe to speak up, and being encouraged to do so, naturally develops mindsets that are more receptive and proactive

A Comprehensive Approach to Feedback

Discussions are guided by insights from all stakeholders together with incident rates, audit results and benchmarking. ‘Management and consumer representatives meet as a group to review data from the quality management system, ensuring transparency and accountability, while VMOs and staff have direct access to me as well as their site DON.’

‘These diverse inputs collectively allow us to operate using the 360-degree approach common in human resources departments – we get a more complete overview of the situation. Limiting the opportunity for such feedback and constructive discussions runs a greater risk of individual perspectives and unconscious biases.

I have no doubt that this set-up is a big reason why VHG day hospitals perform at an individual level, as well as collectively.

Dividends that Benefit Everyone

What stands out to Ms Bennett about each of the VHG day surgeries is not just their high standard of patient care is, but the fact that it is consistently high. ‘Our incident rates are some of the lowest against organisations benchmarking against us, and they remain consistently low month on month,’ she says. ‘It really is a testament to how well our quality system is structured and then how robustly the sites incorporate the components into the care they provide.

‘It’s also not a case of set and forget until next year, especially with the introduction of short notice assessments. Instead, its ongoing conversations about what is working well and what could be improved. We are always looking to refine and improve, even if we already meet current standards. Recent projects include digitising the patient follow-up to increase access to post-discharge care and strengthening pre-admission screening processes to enhance care planning and risk mitigation.’

Of course, the challenge for healthcare organisations is that quality and safety must balance against efficient theatre list turnaround. ‘All VHG day hospitals were established for ophthalmic procedures and are led by DONs with extensive ophthalmic experience. Each site has specialist ophthalmic theatre teams and administrative personnel who understand the unique considerations for patients with ocular conditions. It’s what they do – day in and day out.’
Ms Bennett says feedback from patients and VMOs shows they have found the right balance.

Our NPS is 90, which puts us in the world-class category in terms of patient satisfaction.

Staying informed about safety and quality practices within ophthalmology*

– Representative to the Australian Council of Healthcare Standards (ACHS) for their ophthalmic indicators (member of the working party)
– Reviewer for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) website
– Monitoring alerts and attending meetings with Day Hospitals Australia
– Direct contact with all relevant State Departments of Health
– Member of the Australian Ophthalmic Nurses Association (AONA)
– Subscriber to the Australian College of Perioperative Nurses (ACORN) †*Specific to VHG and Ms Bennett
†VHG’s internal systems are based on best-practice standards developed by ACORN

Vision Hospital Group day surgeries offer the ideal operating solution for smaller/solo surgical practices, including permanent and ad hoc theatre sessions and locations in VIC, NSW, SA and QLD. Please contact Greg Brown, General Manager – Day Hospitals, for further information on 0400 505 158 or [email protected]