I-80 Trailblazer Challenge: Discharge checklist

Building a culture of innovation in health care is tough, especially when you have nearly 23,000 Mission Partners across multiple cities and states. But OSF Innovation is making it happen by developing hospital-based Innovation Hubs where anyone across the Ministry can learn to engage in improvement, creative thinking and executing solutions.

The first hub was launched this year at OSF HealthCare Saint Paul Medical Center in Mendota, Illinois, to cover the I-80 Region. This also included the kickoff of an OSF Trailblazer Challenge, where Mission Partners could win the chance to test, develop and pilot solutions to improve the hospital discharge process.

This led to 39 ideas, with four being selected for either further development or implementation. As part of a four-part blog series, we will highlight each of the finalists.

Getting patients engaged in the discharge process

Katy McDonald, a Performance Improvement Specialist for OSF HealthCare Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in Ottawa, Illinois, was driven to address gaps in communication during the discharge process. This was personal for Katy. She could recall her mom’s difficulties assisting her grandfather while he was sick and in the hospital.

“It was mentally exhausting for my mom because she needed the right information to prepare my grandfather’s home for ongoing care,” said Katy. “But it was also mentally exhausting for the medical care team working so hard to keep patients stable enough to go home without having to return to the hospital.”

This inspired Katy to submit an idea for a discharge checklist that could be used when a patient gets ready to leave the hospital. With help from the OSF Innovation Studio, Katy and her team were able to build out the idea.

The digital checklist which can also be on paper includes everything a patient and their caregiver need to know about the discharge process, including education about treatment, questions to ask, a five-star report of different skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes in the area and a section to write notes. The idea is for patients to receive the checklist upon admission, so they can walk through the discharge process with their clinical team when needed.

“There are so many things patients must learn and remember upon hospital discharge, causing anxiety and confusion,” said Katy. “Having all of that information at their fingertips gives patients the ability to engage in that process and know the steps they need to take to discharge or transition into that next level of care.”

Following a pitch to a panel of judges, Katy and her team including Danielle Hailey, Heather Laatz and Tammy Sheehan were selected to continue working on their solution. They have now engaged with resources from OSF IT, among others, as they move forward with further developing and testing their idea.

We are all innovators

The development of Innovation Hubs and Trailblazer Challenges is just one way OSF Innovation is working to dispel the idea that innovation only happens in Peoria, and that everyone can harness their gifts toward creating solutions to transform health care. These hubs will grow innovation competency, leading to faster translation of ideas and an increase of organic innovation champions, like Katy.

“The challenge for the I-80 Region was an opportunity for the broader OSF Innovation division to share its tools and abilities with us so that we can solve our own unique patient needs,” said Katy. “It’s been so fun to dream big and collaborate with my fellow Mission Partners on ideas like this that can make a difference for the people we serve.”

Mission Partners like Katy, who are willing not just to point out a problem, but to creatively think about how to fix it, are critical to the Mission of OSF. They have firsthand knowledge of opportunities at the frontlines of care and operations and can courageously make their voice heard, impacting health care delivery for patients across the organization.