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Holyke Medical Center earns status

HOLYOKE Holyoke Medical Center has been designated as a "Mentor Hospital" for rapid response teams by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) as part of its 100,000 Lives Campaign.

The IHI is a worldwide organization that's sole purpose is to improve the quality of health care. The 100,000 Lives Campaign is a national campaign to save 100,000 lives by implementing six proven quality initiatives, rapid response teams (RRTs) being among them. Holyoke Medical Center has achieved RRT success and will now be utilized as a referral center for hospitals across the nation in developing their own RRT.

Dawn Chartier RN, clinical improvement manager at HMC, said the designation is an honor for the facility. "We are proud to have the IHI recognize the efforts of our Clinical Evaluation Response Team," she states.

According to Chartier, HMC's Clinical Evaluation Response Team (CERT) offers a system in which caregivers can call upon a team of individuals that can come to the bedside and help assess their patients in the event that the caregivers see signs of a worsening condition or if they are just worried about their patient.

The HMC team includes an ICU registered nurse, respiratory therapist and nursing supervisor, as well as an intensivist /hospitalist in the event that a physician is urgently needed. The rapid response program at Holyoke Medical Center was first introduced in 2004 and has responded to over 375 calls to date.

According to IHI officials, establishing rapid response teams impacts hospitals by identifying unstable patients and those patients likely to suffer cardiac or respiratory arrest. If identified in a timely fashion, their unnecessary deaths can often be prevented. Early intervention is the key to better patient outcomes.

"It's been a very successful program for us," said Chartier. "When a patient is in major, life-threatening distress at the hospital we call a "Code Blue". When a patient is not acting or looking right we can now call on "CERT." This option did not exist before and we now see how essential rapid response and early intervention truly is".

Since the implementation of the rapid response program Holyoke Medical Center's code blue survival rates have increased more than 50 percent and mortality rates have declined.

"Patients are receiving prompt, expert care when they need it," states Chartier.

Holyoke Medical Center has worked directly with the IHI for the last six years and has made positive changes throughout the facility. In addition to starting an RRT, the facility has done work to improve quality of care in the ICU, perioperative areas, medical /surgical units and Emergency Department.

Holyoke Medical Center was one of over 3,000 hospitals across the nation to participate in the 100,000 Lives Campaign.