Carolinas HealthCare System
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The System Celebrates Top Quality and Patient Experience Initiatives of the Year

On Aug. 6, Carolinas HealthCare System held its fifth annual Quality & Service Sharing Day, an event that recognizes innovative projects by teammates that are meant to reach the highest levels of quality healthcare across the System.

More than 800 clinical and non-clinical teammates spent the day sharing their work with colleagues, helping spread best-practice ideas at care locations System-wide.

“Sharing day invigorates our culture of excellent quality and experience for our patients and demonstrates the potential of our clinically integrated network,” said Roger Ray, MD, MBA, FACPE, executive vice president and chief medical officer for the System. “Our goal is to deliver, with reliability, care that is focused on safety, experience, outcomes and cost–a quality experience.”   

This year, a record-breaking 240 project applications were submitted. Of these, 84 were selected as top projects and recognized with bronze, silver or gold Touchstone awards, the highest honor one can receive for improving the patient experience, patient safety, clinical outcomes and efficiency at Carolinas HealthCare System.  

“The greatest System-wide commitment to quality and service”

David B. Nash, MD, founding dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health, delivered messages for care improvement in his keynote address at Quality & Service Sharing Day. He urged attendees to continue their efforts to improve quality and safety in healthcare. “Medical error remains the No. 4 cause of death in the US,” Dr. Nash said. “Care is never going to be error-free, but we have to make it harm-free.”

He also encouraged quality improvement training and education for current and prospective healthcare workers, recognizing Carolinas HealthCare System for being at the forefront in these approaches.

“This organization has the greatest System-wide commitment to quality and service I have ever seen,” Dr. Nash said. “As one of the largest non-profit healthcare systems, Carolinas HealthCare System can influence where the world is going, and it can help guide the field.”

Read about Dr. Nash’s experience at Quality & Service Sharing Day.

Asthma tool helps patients better manage their condition

One gold-level project equipped System providers with a tool that helps them partner with asthma patients to better manage their condition. A team in the Department of Family Medicine Research Division developed and integrated an electronic Asthma Action Plan (eAAP) decision support tool within the electronic medical records (EMR) at physician offices.

As of May 2014, over 3,700 patients have completed an eAAP and have indicated better quality of care, engagement and satisfaction. The tool also helped decreased the number of asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits and inpatient stays among these patients, particularly children – three and six months after receiving an eAAP, pediatric patients saw a 60 percent and 54 percent reduction in ED visits.

The tool will also be integrated in the EMR in hospitals, specialty sites and EDs.

Improving patient safety by replacing surgical supplies and creating post-surgery apps

Another gold-level initiative led to System-wide changes in the type of mesh used during open ventral hernia repair surgeries, improving patient recovery and health after surgery. A clinician at Carolinas Medical Center analyzed data from more than 5,700 surgeries and compared the type of mesh used with wound complications, infection and hernia recurrence. Because of the findings, certain mesh types were replaced with safer options in operating rooms across the System.

System clinicians also created a mobile app that helps reduce the risk of complications after hernia surgery. The Carolinas Equation for Defining Adjusted Risk (CeDAR) app, developed at Carolinas HealthCare System, predicts the risk of wound complications and associated charges after hernia repair.

To help patients before surgery, a Carolinas HealthCare System “Surgical Boot Camp” helps high-risk patients lose weight and control their diabetes and smoking. This is done by a team of counselors, dieticians and physicians who coordinate the patient’s care for six weeks before hernia repair surgery.

Carolinas Medical Center's Samuel W. Ross, MD, MPH, far right on stage, talks about his gold-level Touchstone-Award-winning project to the crowd gathered at the Charlotte Convention Center.


Keynote Speaker, David Nash, MD, of Jefferson School of Population Health


Silver-level award winners deliver poster presentations of their projects.


Carolinas HealthCare System Chief Medical Officer, Roger Ray, MD, MBA, FACPE, delivers the opening remarks for the day.


Carolinas HealthCare System Chief Operating Officer, Joseph Piemont, joined by gold-level award winners.