Rather than dictating a solution to improve patient care and patient satisfaction, leaders at Novant Health enabled nurses to find their own way.
This article first appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Leaders at Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Novant Health had identified a big problem, and it started with its nurses. According to a strategic plan that was meant to guide Novant toward a population-based business model—which some say is a fancy name for capitation—nurses weren't spending enough time in direct patient care. Results from an internal survey that measured time at the bedside were shocking to anyone who envisions nursing as a patient-care profession.
Amazingly, nurses in the four-state, 15-hospital, 2,795-licensed-bed system were spending only 2.5 hours of every 12-hour shift at the bedside. In a world where careful management of complex patients is said to be a key not only to achieving better outcomes but even to future survivability for health systems, that simply wouldn't do. Besides, that lack of patient time probably had a lot to do with patient satisfaction scores that were substantially lower than optimal at many, if not most, of Novant's hospitals.
Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.