Memorial Health System earned one of the top excellence awards from the International Hospital Federation.
More than 130 entries were submitted from 90 healthcare organizations in 24 countries to the international competition. Awards were given out in four categories. The nonprofit health system received the runner-up honor in the Quality and Safety and Patient-Centered Care category.
Memorial Health System's entry was titled "Reaching New Frontiers of Quality and Safety Using an Innovative 30/30/30 Lean Six Sigma Approach." Lean Six Sigma is a method to improve performance by removing waste and reducing variation.
Since launching its Lean Six Sigma program six years ago, Memorial Health System has completed nearly 400 improvement projects that "have yielded more than $30 million in savings while transforming the Memorial performance excellence culture," said Charles Callahan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for the health system.
"These efforts have had a major impact on the quality and safety of the care we provide as well as created positive experiences and outcomes for our patients," Callahan said.
One of those patients was Sean Lynch, a 50-year-old local radio personality, who experienced a massive heart attack while setting up for a pre-party for the band, Foghat, during the Illinois State Fair. Lynch thought he was merely overheated and needed to catch his breath and cool down, but his general manager insisted on taking him to the emergency department at Memorial Medical Center. Lynch had 100 percent blockage in his right coronary artery. He received three cardiac catheterizations and two stents.
"I'm grateful for the great care I received," Lynch said. "Everyone was really straightforward, very informative and extremely caring, especially the nurses."
This was the first time Memorial Health System had submitted an entry to the international competition. The health system was encouraged to turn in its application by the American Hospital Association, which in 2016 recognized Memorial Medical Center with its Quest for Quality Prize, an honor that's bestowed upon only one hospital in the nation each year.
"This honor from the International Hospital Federation is recognition of our staff's dedication to our mission, of the advance of our quality and safety journey and ultimately of the positive impact Memorial is making in the lives of the people and communities we serve," Callahan said.