NewsAnnouncements : Interdisciplinary Practice Councils enhance patient experience at WRNMMC

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Interdisciplinary Practice Councils enhance patient experience at WRNMMC


By AJ Simmons

WRNMMC Command Communications

Since December of 2015, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) has pursued a mission to use interdisciplinary practice councils (IPCs) to provide the highest quality of patient care and innovative methods of health care provision.
“[IPCs] focus on continuous improvement and patient safety with the goal of providing an extraordinary patient experience,” said Navy Capt. Nancy Condon, the IPC program manager.
She explained that IPCs gather staff members from various professional backgrounds with a variety of skillsets to innovate and enhance the delivery of health care at WRNMMC. Doctors, nurses, administrative staff, social workers and pharmacists, as well as many others, provide the IPCs their professional diversity.
“The IPCs revolve around the diversity of skillsets of the members, and that collaboration is more capable of solving a complexity of issues,” said Condon.
According to Condon, WRNMMC began implementing IPCs as part of an overarching strategy to promote a “high-value health care delivery system.”
IPCs follow a step-by-step process to affect change and innovation within departments of the hospital, according to a presentation by Condon. Ideas shared by members of the IPC are used to establish proposals, which then become a project for the IPC. Through this process, an idea from any staff member can be developed into an effective practice within a department.
There are multiple roles within an IPC that members can perform. These roles include a Chair and Co-Chair, Service Chief, Secretary, Advisor, Program Manager and, of course, the many members.
“IPCs are an essential forum to bring all health care providers together,” said Dr. Kalpna Prasad, chair of Interdisciplinary Practice Council for Nuclear Medicine at WRNMMC. “Whether [providers] are administrative staff, pharmacists, technologists or physicians, they have equal weight in sharing their different ideas, backgrounds, knowledge skills, experience, concerns and expertise towards a common goal.”
That goal, Prasad explained, is to provide “excellent and compassionate care to our beneficiaries.”
Prasad pointed out that developments originating from the Nuclear Medicine IPC have helped to increase patient satisfaction, streamline efficiency in the clinic and improve protocols and policies in the treatment of patients.
“The IPCs are designed to empower staff and establish a spirit of shared governance,” said Army 1st Lt. LaDonna Tolbert, the chair for the IPC for the 3 Center Cardiac/Telemetry Unit. “The members are the vanguards for the unit, committed to patient and staff excellence.”
Tolbert elaborated that the IPC members collect data, use research and formulate processes and evidence-based practice projects to improve the effectiveness of patient care as well as enhance staff satisfaction.
Explaining the direct impacts of using IPCs, Tolbert said, “Patients and service members can be assured that the staff on 3 Center is using modern technology and some of the latest techniques for providing the best care that military health care can offer. The work of our IPC is continuous and will always reflect best practices as they relate to the needs of our patients and our staff.”
Tolbert also noted that the IPC benefits staff members as much as patients: “Being part of the IPC enhances unit cohesiveness. Staff members are being heard, and they actively see their ideas being carried out. This creates staff retention and harmony. I encourage everyone to become actively involved in your unit’s IPC.”
Condon pointed out that, while the early days of establishing the IPCs were focused on introducing the concept and establishing staff interest, the future is more focused on stability and continued development. She explained that as the IPC programs progress, she hopes to develop and distribute guidance as well as provide the IPCs with the tools to further their successes.
“I hope to see many innovative ideas to improve our delivery of patient care, patient safety, employee morale and promotion of positive, encouraging and beautiful work place environment in the future,” said Prasad.
To become involved and participate in an IPC, staff members are encouraged to meet with the chair of their department’s IPC. If the department does not have an IPC, but would like to establish one, they are encouraged to contact Condon.
“We will design a plan to get you started. It’s easier than you think,” said Condon.
For more information on Interdisciplinary Practice Councils or how to establish one in a department, please contact Capt. Nancy Condon at nancy.condon@med.navy.mil.