Providing excellent, evidence-based patient care has always been among the highest priorities at El Camino Hospital. The hospital has been recognized in the top-tier of California hospitals in terms of providing quality care. El Camino Hospital has been a recipient of awards and recognitions that include an overall four-star rating with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Top 50 Hospitals for Cardiac Care by Truven Health Analytics, and Disease-specific Joint Commission Certification in Stroke, Hip and Knee Joint Replacement, Hip Fracture, and Spinal Fusion. The hospital has applied to for certification in Sepsis in 2018.
Catherine Carson, senior director of quality control and chief quality officer, leads the hospital’s work in the area of quality and patient safety. “El Camino Hospital is committed to both. When there is a problem, we take action,” she shares. “We have built a culture where anyone can raise their hand to speak up in order to improve.”
Catherine brings more than 30 years of experience in healthcare quality and patient safety performance improvement. She is focused on driving change through best practices and using data-driven solutions to improve the quality and safety of care provided at El Camino Hospital. Since starting in her role at the hospital in 2016, she has made continual improvements in the organization.
Catherine believes the integration of quality improvement begins with the enterprise-wide daily huddle. She explains, “The huddle has its roots in patient safety, and we expanded it to include other aspects of quality. Gathering the leaders together for a brief meeting each morning allows us to identify what needs to be done right now to improve the experience of our patients and prevent harm. It’s about doing things right the first time and always keeping our ‘eye on the ball’ while making constant improvements in real time.”
She adds, “We are expanding the use of performance and quality data to track what can be done to improve our outcomes and to benchmark ourselves against our peers. One way we do that is through surveys and accreditations which give us guidance on areas for improvement.”
The commitment to providing the highest standard of patient care is evident from the El Camino Hospital Board of Director’s organizational goals for 2018. Quality is one of the key areas where the Board has set organizational goals. The quality and patient safety goals are to achieve zero hospital-acquired infections related to Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infection (CLABSI), Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infection (CAUTI) and C.diff (Clostridium difficile). “Everyone in the hospital is engaged in achieving these goals because providing safe, quality care is what‘s best for our patients,” shares Catherine.
“For every infection type, we have a specialized team that meets every other week to evaluate data and implement necessary adjustments. Small incremental changes are the key to making sustainable performance improvements,” she explains. “For every infection, we take a hard look at causation and determine what can be improved. This is also done at the individual department level to ensure that all clinicians are working towards our established goals. We continue to improve because we are able to identify issues quickly and address them right away.”
Catherine enjoys working for a healthcare organization where quality and patient safety are important key areas of focus. “We have a terrific team committed to providing high-quality care that is safe and personalized for each patient.”