Local Hospital Recognized for Safety

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Racing to save lives, Knoxville hospitals have just been recognized for demonstrating exceptional patient safety.

The Knoxville Hospital Group is being acknowledged for its rapid response team project.

A rapid response team is called in when a patient's life is in danger.

Made up of a critical care nurse and a respiratory therapist, the teams are taking patient safety to the next level.

A sudden change in heart rate, blood pressure, consciousness, if you experience any of these conditions in a Knoxville hospital, a rapid response team will be there.

The attending nurse makes the call to an operator, who pages the team into action.

"We are actually averaging a two minute response time. At that time, the critical care nurse and the respiratory therapist goes to that patient's bedside," says Sandra Cecil, Parkwest Critical Care Manager.

At Parkwest Medical Center, the Critical Care Unit credits these response teams for a 61 percent reduction in the number of cardiac and respiratory arrests.

"And in our close reviews, we have been able to determine this is directly related to our rapid response team," says Cecil.

At Parkwest, rapid response teams were activated 201 times in the first six months, and decreased the number of transfers to the critical care unit by 15 percent.

Similar success is being enjoyed by all the facilities in the Knoxville hospital study group.

The group has been honored with a 2006 Tennessee Improving Patient Safety Award.

"A lot of areas will have isolated hospitals that are doing well, that are implementing things like this, but there's very few communities out there that's working as closely together as we are here in Knoxville," says Cecil.

Included in the Knoxville area study group are Parkwest, Fort Sanders, Methodist Medical, UT Medical, Children's Hospital, Baptist, St. Mary's and Blount Memorial.

The group was recognized by the Tennessee Department of Health for reducing errors and promoting patient safety.


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