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Tom Stafford, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Halifax Health joins us on this episode of the Patient Flow Podcast to discuss how TeleTracking’s tools, best practices and process improvement plays a critical role in improving hospital operations. Tom believes other CIOs should be focused on patient flow as a critical operational function.
Tom Stafford | Vice President & Chief Information Officer | Halifax Health
Tom joined Halifax Health more than 10 years ago after a decade working as an engineer and product developer in the medical device industry. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida.
On today’s episode of the Patient Flow Podcast, we welcome Tom Stafford, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Halifax Health in Daytona Beach Florida. What you'll learn through today's conversation:
Intro: Welcome to the Patient Flow Podcast powered by TeleTracking. On today’s episode of the Patient Flow Podcast, we welcome Tom Stafford, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Halifax Health in Daytona Beach Florida. Let’s Listen in as Tom talks about his recent attendance at TeleTracking’s customer conference and the positive impact multidisciplinary rounding (MDRs) have made it Halifax.
Tom Stafford: We're roughly 680 beds two hospital system, in the process of building a third hospital right now. And our mission is really to care for every roof top in Volusia County. And that can be a mansion on the beach, or it can be no roof top because unfortunately the person might live in the woods. And so no matter your station in life, we're there to provide good care and positive outcomes and hopefully ambulate you out of the hospital to go on with your life and everything. So it's a good mission. I'm proud to be a part of it. Every day I get to walk up the ramp to come into the hospital and I know someone on my team is doing something to improve healthcare a little bit. CIO's have priorities and one of the largest priorities is the Health Care formation system. And if you pulled all the CIO's that have TeleTracking, I would say most of them, it's not considered a tier 1 application and tier one is something that we always keep up. We do disaster recovery testing against all that stuff. And two years ago I just thought it was like a bedboard system that EVS used to clean rooms. And that's all I thought it was. But there's a lot more power to it. And if CIO's don't understand that, the power of it and how operations in the through put, unfortunately other priorities will take it over. We used Vocera in that case and just a way to alert nurses quickly of things they need to know about throughput.
Susan: What goals do you have for your technology programs?
Tom Stafford: One of my goals as a CIO is to actually keep clinicians away from computers. You have to enter data but outside of that, I should be giving you information. You should next go back to the period to get it. Med/Surg computer every 30 minutes. Intensive care is probably every 10 and ED is about every five and if you're a patient in the hospital, you actually want the nurse to be by the bedside, not typing into a computer.
Susan: Tom you recently attended TeleTracking’s annual client conference what was your take away?
Tom Stafford: I will say that the conference was very meaningful for me and I got to take a lot of stuff away and it was really a multidisciplinary rounds. And so you guys were talking about MDRs a lot at that conference and I was pretty excited. And not only were you talking about the TeleTracking system but one thing that TeleTracking does very well is you also offer best practices and work flows. And an MDR is not really system related, it's ... folks get in the room and about patient care. And the plan of the day stay away and so, it was probably one of those meaningful conferences I have been to in a while because everything I learned, I got to take back and then we started using that. We are very similar in the cloud as far as Leslie Walls was telling me about it and actually they were able to do something and stay about a day and they did that through MDR's. At the customer conference in October, we kind of started MDR's right before that but they really didn't have the medical doctor in it so I'm not sure what it was except for just nursing rounding.
Susan: How has TeleTracking and the implementation of multidisciplinary rounding made an impact of length of stay?
Tom Stafford: We really wanted to make a difference and so we weren't really doing a good job or we doing it like the stays so one of our Friday meetings about length to stay. He said I want every executive to be part of and MDR and a unit and so I chose 4 North. It's my favorite unit. We always do beta testing up there and the nurse managers great and I know everybody and he did something that was very helpful for us was that he paired me with our CMIO, so when he had the executives go to MDR, he paired a doctor with them. But in my case, it was our CMIO who I work with every day and she had the time to actually go to the MDRs. And so her and I brought that back to the council over length of stay and said we have to have physicians at MDRs. I mean, you can see the difference come up to four and watch Dr. Cornish interacts with pharmacy and case management and therapy and the nurses just to make sure that we're providing the right level of care and it was very collaborative. I am not clinical, so for me I was just sitting back watching all this thinking well this really works. And at that time it was still whiteboard. We were writing on the wall more or less. And once we figured it out and got it working, then we switched over to use the electronic white boards and TeleTracking. And that gives us a good outline to start from and we actually had the scripted MDR but because of that efforts, I guess I'd say from November till now, we're probably at a full day reduction like this day and we're still tweaking in those things that we're doing our focus on it but it's a work in progress but we wouldn't have been able to accomplish that without really the road map that you guys gave me at the customer conference. And the whole reason why I got involved is cause once I started getting into assisting operations on reducing like to stay, of course I'm tech so I think of tools and we had TeleTracking and our director over patient placement used the system every day, along with our EVS folks she sat down and showed it to me and she was like, "There's a conference in two weeks, you should go." I'm like, "Okay." So I went out there with her, it was great to interact with you guys and then I started seeing other ways we could connect the system together with other systems and that's really how I got there. The driving factors were that I started working operations part-time more or less and it was on length of stay reduction and it was really dictated by our Chief Operations Officer and my background's engineering so I do all process recruitment stuff once I started looking at it then I'm like, "Wow, we have the tool that's made for this." And I didn't think of it that way before then. And so I think like, everyone's trying to reduce the state today because usually no one in healthcare right? You can get a little more, give a little less, just depending on how well you do. So you have to do something and so yet become more efficient. Otherwise you can get acquired or partnered with somebody then you lose your mission.
Tom Stafford: I was talking to Chris last night about it. I'm like, "This is one of the issues. It's just not high priority." And from talk can tell the folks here, they like we never get the IT support we need. And I'm thinking, "Well, IT's there to support." That's what we do. Their priorities are different from patient placement operations and how they need the system versus IT is trying to maintain X amount of EHRs and an interface engine and they just don't put TeleTracking on the same level. That's my perception. It also benefits me too. Because I see what nurses and pharmacists and physicians do every day and I wouldn't see that unless I was part of the MDR. I flite around the floor, its nothing like being in that room with all those amazing resources that are really there to improve the care of the patients on the unit
Outro: Thank you for listening to the Patient Flow podcast powered by TeleTracking. We take pride in bringing you insightful conversations with the leading experts in patient flow, as well as tips on industry best practices to help ensure patients get the right care in the right place at the right time.