Teamwork, a hallmark of patient care at the JGH, is about to become even more effective and collaborative with the introduction of the Patient Order Sets, in the opinion of many of the hospital’s nurses and allied health professionals who have familiarized themselves with the new system.
Maxine Lithwick, Chief of Social Services, is heartened that allied professionals have had an opportunity to provide input about the Order Sets. As a result, she says, “the new system will make us more aware of which patients have been admitted and which professionals may be needed for a consultation. This will be of great help to us in planning what we do.”
Mary Lattas, Chief of Occupational Therapy and Coordinator of Ambulatory Services, agrees and notes that research has determined that any measure that enhances interdisciplinary teamwork has a direct and positive effect on patient outcomes. “The Patient Order Sets are a wonderful communication tool that helps us understand the expectations for the patient and become involved in a timely manner.”“One of the great advantages of this system is that the Patient Order Sets are available to the entire team,” says Dr. Louise Miner, Director of Professional Services for the Integrated Health and Social Services University Network for West-Central Montreal (West-Central Montreal Health).
“Information that used to be exclusive to physicians is now open for everyone to see and use. The more people on the team who understand what is being done and why, the better the quality of the patient care will be be.”
Johanne Boileau, Director of Nursing for West-Central Montreal Health, adds that “the partnership of the interdisciplinary team will once again enable our institution to provide patients with safer care and better health outcomes. With this collaborative approach, the Patient Order Sets allow us to keep the patient as our top priority, which is why the Department of Nursing is very proud to be part of this important initiative.”
By consistently specifying what the patient needs, the Order Sets help nurses ensure that all of the safeguards are in place, says Denise Bédard, a Nurse Consultant in Colorectal Surgery and Vascular Surgery. For example, nurses and others on the healthcare team can tell at a glance whether all of the patient’s necessary prescriptions have actually been written and submitted by the physician.
“It’s also a learning opportunity for new residents who may not yet know exactly what to order in a particular situation,” adds Justine De Monteiro, Interim Head Nurse on 5Northwest. “Since the Order Sets standardize the requirements for each type of patient, the residents don’t have to guess about best practices or the JGH’s preferences.”
Similarly, says Kathryn Baldwin, Nurse Clinician on 5Northwest, the printed form helps nurses to determine more easily—before medication is administered—whether the patient has any allergies and, if so, what they are. In addition, special instructions can be integrated more conveniently to ensure compliance with programs such as the Specialized Approach to Senior Care.
“I’m really happy that by using the Patient Order Sets, we’ll be able to be proactive instead of reactive,” says Dr. Zeev Rosberger, Chief of Psychology. “That’s the best way to reduce errors and improve safety.”
Donna Schafer, Chief of Clinical Nutrition, acknowledges that there will be a learning curve at first, but the benefits will be well worth the effort. “The fact that the Order Sets are standardized and systematic will help us improve care by ensuring that we carry out the right orders, no matter how specialized they may be. It will take a bit of getting used to, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”