“More than ever, we need to focus on taking time to listen to other’s perspectives, especially when their expertise differs from our own.”

– Alex Reppond, MS

One of the core principles of Innovation is the deliberate pursuit of diversity of thought, recognizing its important role in addressing complex challenges. It is through the collision of ideas that teams gain new perspectives and solutions to tough challenges.  Recently, Southern Maine Health Care (SMHC) exemplified this innovation framework in their approach to tackling the issue of inpatient length of stay.

In late 2022, as the length of stay began to rise, SMHC’s executive leadership, including Nate Howell (former) President SMHC, Mike Albaum, MD, VP Associate CMO of SMHC, and Jennifer Schmitz, MSN, (former) Chief of Nursing at SMHC, tasked a multidisciplinary team with developing innovative solutions.  Among the three interventions identified was Interprofessional Bedside Rounding, a novel approach to inpatient care.

Led by Andy Powell, MD, Senior Medical Director and Ger Webster, RN Senior Nursing Director, the multidisciplinary workgroup comprised members from various departments, including hospitalist, case management, nursing, rehabilitation, hospital medicine, pharmacy, and quality care. Meeting regularly, the team collaboratively defined the implementation of bedside rounding, with nurses and physicians jointly conducting rounds for 80% of patients. Months of ideation culminated in sessions over three consecutive days, during which the team devised a groundbreaking strategy to geographically cohort patients on a single floor. Armed with colored sticky notes, the team mapped out patient flow from the Emergency Department to floor, changes to Epic, and the role of nursing, medical hospitalists, and case management, enabling collaborative rounds.

Supported by SMHC leadership and facilitated by Alex Reppond, MS, Southern Region Operations Transformation Manager, who served as project manager, the key to success lay in getting everyone in a room and asking how we are going to fix a shared problem.  As Alex aptly noted, “We live in silos and only see the world from our own perspective. More than ever, we need to take time to listen, to hear others.”

SMHC’s collaborative efforts serve as a beacon of inspiration, highlighting the transformative power of diverse perspectives in driving innovation and problem-solving. By embracing the collision of ideas, organizations can overcome barriers, foster collaboration, and chart new paths toward success. Thank you, SMHC, for sharing this inspirational story!

brainstorming board with charts and post-it notes hanging on a wall
screencap of a presentation titled" Reducing Length of Stay in a Community Hospital Setting Through Improvement Science"

Our Purpose

MaineHealth Innovation builds connections to drive diversity of thought, educates to produce creative problem-solvers and funds to accelerate ideas. By leveraging the ideas, insights and expertise of all care team members to develop novel solutions to our unmet care needs, we are working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.

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