New Jersey success stories

NJ Local Success Stories
Quality improvement endeavors can often feel overwhelming, but chances are, you can learn from the experiences that another physician, hospital or nursing home has had in a similar situation. Coupled with support from Quality Insights Quality Innovation Network, learning what has worked for others — and what didn't — is a valuable strategic planning component. View local stories about the Everyone with Diabetes Counts (EDC) program

Practice Improves Cardiac Care with 7 Simple Tips

Practice LogoThe 18-member staff of Columbus Family Physicians, LLC serves about 8,000 patients per year in Columbus, New Jersey. When Practice Manager Karen Mahler discovered an increase in abnormal blood pressure readings, she was compelled to investigate further.
"We were finding that patients were getting different readings depending on where their blood pressure was taken,” explains Mahler. “We got one reading in our office, the patient was getting a different reading at home and a specialist was getting a different reading as well. Something wasn’t completely accurate.”

Using an “all in” philosophy and a team-based care approach, Mahler developed a plan to decrease missed opportunities for improving blood pressure readings. She championed educating, interacting and sharing within the practice.
In this effort to obtain more uniform blood pressure readings across the board, Mahler enlisted Quality Insights Cardiac Health New Jersey Task Lead Maureen Kelsey. Kelsey introduced Mahler to the 7 Simple Tips to Get an Accurate Blood Pressure Reading quality improvement tool.
Mahler implemented a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) quality improvement cycle as the first step in the process. “As part of the implementation workflow, we engaged and trained staff on the 7 Simple Tips tool,” she says.
This new process was shared with patients on a one-on-one basis and the 7 Simple Tips tool was posted in the waiting room. Additionally, staff began teaching patients how to accurately take their blood pressure at home.
The results? “Staff definitely feels more comfortable knowing they are getting a better reading by following the steps on the handout,” says Mahler. “And, patients feel more comfortable too. They like knowing we’re following guidelines and specific steps.”
The data shows an improvement as well. Mahler produced baseline clinical quality for each clinician and their respective patient population. After a three month time period the clinical quality data was compared against the baseline data and showed an improvement of 6.5 percent.
As a result of the improvements, this process has become a permanent workflow at Columbus Family Physicians. “I really appreciate Maureen’s assistance with this process,” said Mahler. “She provided us with the 7 Simple Steps tool and checked in with us along the way to make sure we were on track.”
The practice deems this initiative a success, proven by the data and patient feedback that they feel more relaxed going through the process.
Mahler offers this advice to other practices considering a similar effort. “As silly as the process may seem or sound, and you question if this could really make a difference, take the time to try it. Avoid the hesitation. Give it a try because it does make a difference. You will see better results.”