How Scripps combats low-performing metrics

In an effort to focus on low-performing metrics, Scripps Health introduced "Sprint Teams," a program aimed at addressing challenges and driving initiatives through direct engagement with front-line care teams. 

The journey of Sprint Teams began in January 2020, when Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder divided the chief medical officer role into two, assigning Ghazala Sharieff, MD, to oversee quality and inpatient metrics in her role as corporate senior vice president, chief medical and operations officer. 

However, the organization faced challenges in making rapid changes to meet quality standards, prompting the need for a new strategy.

The concept of Sprint Teams came in October 2020, and emphasized a multidisciplinary approach to address specific challenges efficiently. These teams, consisting of representatives from each of Scripps' five hospitals, focus on a single problem, such as heart failure or emergency department falls, and collaboratively work to implement changes within the year. 

This process evolves from a "sprint" to a "task force" when dealing with ongoing issues that may persist due to the difficulty of achieving zero occurrences, Dr. Sharieff told Becker's.

"Last Spring, we got all five 'A's' on LeapFrog — all five, and that's a lot of the Sprint Team efforts because everybody's rowing in the same direction," she said. 

The impact of Sprint Teams at Scripps has been profound, according to Dr. Sharieff. She said, in 2023, the health system has been able to reduce emergency department falls from 65 to 19 and catheter-associated urinary tract infections from 78 to 30 .

Dr. Sharieff said the Sprint Teams have also been able to contribute to lowering infection rates, reducing readmissions and improving overall care to enhance patient satisfaction.

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