2015 'Innovation of the Year' Award Winners

Paris Community Hospital Family Medical Center won ICAHN's 2015 Hospital 'Innovation of the Year' award during ceremonies held November 11 at The Crowne Plaza, Springfield. Erin Frank, PR/Marketing/Grants Manager, accepted the award on behalf of her hospital's team. Kirby Medical Center and Hamilton Memorial Hospital District won Honorable Mention honors for their KirbyWellness and 'Getting Back in the Game' Concussion Program, respectively. Accepting the awards for their hospitals were Karin Sykes, Director of Therapy Services, and Sara Wade, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, for Kirby; and Denise Browning, Director of Rehab Services for Hamilton Memorial. 

"What these hospitals have done for their employees, their patients, and their communities is nothing short of amazing," said Angie Charlet, Director of Quality and Educational Services. "There is such a depth of innovation in all the projects submitted that I strongly encourage you to share ideas and insights. It was a truly difficult decision as each and every submission was worthy of the honor."

Shown above are Sara Wade (left) and Karin Sykes of Kirby Medical Center, Erin Frank of Paris Community Hospital, and Denise Browning of Hamilton Memorial Hospital.

Paris Community Hospital's Project Management Team

Submitted by Rachel Kelley, RN, BSN, MS, HC, CHCM, Staff Development/Standards and Compliance
Originally, this project was entitled ‘Think Tank,’ which later evolved into the Project Management Team. This team meets about every three weeks to discuss revenue-generating and cost-saving projects and to prioritize facility and community needs. The team brainstormed 68 ideas in 2013, and to date, nearly all have been completed, are still being considered, or have been dismissed without action. All ideas are documented. Some are managed quickly, others take some time to think over, and still others are tabled for later discussion. The group is also used for management/oversight of stalled projects or initiatives that have had trouble ‘getting off the ground.’ The impact of the Project Management Team is best seen in the development of new service lines, recruitment, and initiatives engaging its employees and the community. Some of the projects include the building of a robust Occupational Health Program, led by a nurse practitioner; increased availability of the Infusion Clinic; development of the Women’s Health service line; implementation of a weight loss program; creation of an employee wellness program; and the expansion of radiology and respiratory services to offer 24-hour coverage.

Kirby Medical Center's KirbyWellness Program

Submitted by Karin Sykes, Director of Therapy Services, and Sara Wade, Director of Food and Nutrition Services
Prior to 2014, all Kirby Medical Center employees were able to enroll in the hospital’s employee Wellness Program; however, participation was limited due to the Wellness Program incentive being a discount on the hospital’s employer-offered health insurance benefit, which many employees did not use. The original Wellness Program was a participation-based program using a points system, which allowed for excessive subjectivity and varying levels of the participants’ ownership to make personal lifestyle changes to improve one’s health. Strong administrative support, however, has allowed the rebranding of Kirby’s Wellness Program to ‘KirbyWellness,’ complete with a ‘KirbyWellness’ logo. ‘KirbyWellness’ is a results-based program directly tied to biometric health outcome measures and features an annual cash incentive.The incentive is now available to all employees participating in the program, regardless of their employment status. The health outcome measures were approved by Kirby’s Chief Medical Officer and are based on a review of guidelines established by the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Hamilton Memorial Hospital's 'Getting Back Into the Game': Concussion Program

Submitted by Victoria Woodrow, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
As the discussion regarding student athletes and concussion management comes to the forefront in national headlines and the Illinois General Assembly debates changes to school code, Hamilton Memorial Hospital recognized the need for local collaboration with Hamilton County High School to provide baseline concussion screenings for student athletes. In the fall of 2015, HMH purchased a BioDex Balance System, which allows for static and dynamic balance testing and training for older adults and athletes. The equipment was intended for HMH’s successful outpatient therapy and inpatient swing-bed patients to mitigate falls,
but with the added functionality of balance testing for athletes, HMH rehabilitation staff thought it would be an opportunity for community outreach by providing much needed baseline concussion testing to the local high school athletic department. In August of 2015, the Illinois General Assembly passed Public Act 99-0245, the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act, which established a comprehensive plan to provide concussion education; classroom accommodations for students diagnosed with a concussion; ‘return-to-learn’ protocols led by peer reviewed scientific evidence; baseline testing for student athletes; and a concussion oversight team that includes a physician, school nurse, athletic trainer, and administrative team leader. The timing was perfect to offer the school the baseline testing of student athletes, as well as assist the school district by providing a long-tenured local physician to their oversight team.

Submitted by Kim Nelson-Galloway, Director of Quality and Performance
In order to enhance the treatment and care of inpatient patients, follow-up appointment scheduling was turned over to case managment with registration staff monitoring missed or unscheduled appointments. The goal of this project was to reduce thirty day readmissions. Previously, the patient was expected to follow-up with their primary care physician for their post-discharge appointment. Thirty day readmissions were reduced from 10 percent to 0 percent through this initiative.

CLAY COUNTY HOSPITAL – Employee Onboarding / Retention
Submitted by Courtney Minton, Executive Administrative Assistant
The objectives of this initiative include attracting, retaining, and rewarding the best employees; reducing turnover by five percent, compared to 2014; reducing first year turnover by 10 percent, compared to 2014; and increasing the engagement of employees. The ‘revamping’ of the onboarding process has reduced employee turnover from 3.75% for the last quarter of 2014 to 1.6% in 2015 since the full process was implemented. The Employee Engagement Team continues to monitor turnover and is dedicated to the success of the process. Special focus was given to orientation and onboarding, training and development, and recognizing a health work/life balance. Since employee turnover costs the organization a substantial amount, reducing turnover has extensively yielded ‘return on investment.’

CLAY COUNTY HOSPITAL – Hospital / EMS Community Medic Check Program
Submitted by Courtney Minton, Executive Administrative Assistant
Clay County Hospital / EMS has introduced a widely accepted program called ‘Medic Check.’ This program is derived from the ‘Community Paramedic’ model that has been implemented in several states. Since Illinois does not have a statewide community paramedic model, Clay County Hospital / EMS is proactive in reducing the number of acute situations that chronic illness patients experience. The ‘Medic Check’ program educates enrolled participants about the importance of keeping doctors’ appointments and understanding fall risk factors in the home. As healthcare leans toward a ‘population health’ approach, the ‘Medic Check’ program is aligned with this concept.

Submitted by Julie Theill, MBAH, OTR/L, CLT, FAFS, Director of Rehab Services and Long Term Care
This initiative was a collaborative effort with the three school districts in Hammond Henry’s Hospital’s service community. Their partnership with implementing the Free2Play program facilitates an environment where children are all recognized as ‘athletes,’ where wellness is encouraged, and each child ‘perspires to inspire’ others. Free2Play is a nationally recognized movement and literacy program powered by the Gray Institute. It is a dynamic program founded upon the principles of Applied Functional Science, which naturally integrates the physical, biological, and behavioral sciences, thus creating a logical system for acquiring literacy in human movement – from simple to complex, fundamental to skillful. The program also educates athletes in the art of communication through sign language. The benefit of the Free2Play program is two-fold. First, it promotes physical health and wellness, which helps control childhood obesity; and secondly, it creates a culture of kids empowering and encouraging each other, thereby reducing the likelihood of bullying events.

KIRBY MEDICAL CENTER – Employee Communication / Recognition
Submitted by Heidi Apperson, Director of Marketing and Community Relations
In an effort to improve communication among employees and build teamwork, Kirby Medical Center developed programs to enhance and improve its internal
communications including, but not limited to, employee surveys, forums, the KirbySpace blog, Kirby Intranet, team meetings, and rounding. An Employee
Partnership program in which employee surveys were gathered and analyzed was created, and a Patient Improvement Employee Collaboration Committee was formed. At each meeting, patient survey results are reviewed, goals are made, and opportunities for improvement are addressed. The objectives of the committee are to improve service results, patient experience, and collegial relationships by promoting the understanding of the impact of the patient experience and colleague engagement; achieve a 95% overall mean satisfaction score measured by Press Ganey or HCAHPS; promote the understanding of the Employee Gain-Sharing Incentive Program; and assist leaders in identifying solutions for department-specific problem areas.

Submitted by Mick Welding, Director of Marketing
An endocrinologist was recruited upon discovery that there were few specialty physicians in the Morrison Community Hospital service area treating patients with diabetes and thyroid conditions.. Upon this doctor’s recommendation and with administrative support, Morrison Community Hospital expanded its existing Diabetic Center to include a podiatrist, a vascular surgeon, a wound care nurse, and a diabetic educator, effectively offering a comprehensive treatment plan in the management of these diseases for the community that was previously underserved. Concurrently, MCH’s marketing department launched a multi-media advertising campaign to promote the enhanced service offering and created a website dedicated to its promotion.

Submitted by Rachel Kelley, RN, BSN, MS, HC, CHCM, Staff Development/ Standards and Compliance
The Nursing Honor Guard began as a hospital nursing department project. Each nurse is an Honor Guard participant, which includes active and retired Paris Community Hospital nurses. Their role as a participant is to stand guard during the deceased’s nurses visitation and/or funeral service. Each PCH nurse is responsible for supplying their own white uniform, nursing cap, and white shoes, and their time involvement is strictly voluntary. The concept of the Nursing Honor Guard first came to the attention of the PCH Chief Nursing Officer who had the opportunity to witness an honor guard ceremony at a hospital in Indiana. She was so touched by the ceremony and the nurses’ involvement, it became a mission to implement this service at Paris Community Hospital, and they have utilized nurses in this capacity ever since. This service is available to the family of a fallen nurse who requests the nursing honor guard.

ROCHELLE COMMUNITY HOSPITAL – Journey to Wellness Community Health Fair
Submitted by Michelle LaPage, Foundation and Community Events
This project was initiated in an effort to combine some of Rochelle Community Hospital’s smaller community events in the hopes of increasing audience size,
effectively attracting more families and offering increased awareness of all the hospital has to offer its community. The free event focused on the care Rochelle Community Hospital offers to its patients and communitiy. The theme was a ‘Journey to Wellness,’ and many different countries were represented to take attendees with their passport to a world of better health. There were wellness tips, fun activities, health information, hospital experts, a Kids’ Zone, the ‘Meet the RCH Mascot’ event, an ambulance walk-thru, and a ‘Touch a Fire Truck’ opportunity coupled with the chance to explore the firesafety house. The project was promoted with the kick-off of RCH’s ‘Name Our Mascot’ contest for all children within K-6th grade.

WABASH GENERAL HOSPITAL – Thirty One Bags for Oncology Patients
Submitted by Danielle Stevens, Executive Assistant/Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator
Since oncology patients find it necessary to bring items back and forth to the hospital on numerous occasions during their care, the ‘Thirty One Bags for Oncology Patients’ project was created to offer each patient a quality bag. A Thirty One consultant offered to sell the utility totes for a lesser price, and the goal to raise funds for 50 bags was set. Employees were allowed to use an automatic payroll deduction to purchase the bags. The goal was greatly exceeded, and a total of $3,025 was raised to purchase 121 bags. The Wabash General Hospital Foundation was then approached to purchase lotion, chapstick, mouthwash, hand sanitizer, slipper socks, and lemon drops to give away with each bag. The Foundation agreed to provide each of the items, and a local christian church women’s sewing ministry provided a fleece blanket to give away with each of the bags, providing a successful and coordinated hospital and community collaboration.