Avera Medical Minute AMcK: McKennan among nation's best hospital - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute AMcK: McKennan among nation's best hospitals

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When it comes to your health needs there's one big reason why you should look no further than Avera McKennan. The hospital was rated by Healthgrades as the best hospital in South Dakota for overall clinical excellence and is among the top 5 percent in the nation.

The distinction is a point of pride for Avera McKennan. But for the hospital to be considered among the nation's best, it took plenty of hard work and dedication.

"We're very honored but very humbled it's not our style to make splashy advertisements or to necessarily celebrate these kinds of awards, we know they're a result of a lot of hard work but we still have a lot of hard work to do and a long road ahead of us." Said Dr. Michael Elliot, the Chief Medical Officer at Avera McKennan. 

The hospital received top marks for its general surgery and gastrointestinal care specialities, but the biggest improvement these past two years, was the all-around team focus on limiting mistakes and improving patient outcomes.

"We've got nurses and physicians and everyone else, I say rowing in the same direction with all got quality and safety first in mind." Said Dr. Elliot.

One way that Avera McKennan has changed the culture of care is by participating in CUSP, or the comprehensive unit-based safety program. This program focuses on eliminating infections caused from central lines being placed and other invasive procedures.

"Every single thing that we do unfortunately comes with risks medications have side effects procedures have risks but it's really exciting that we have focused so hard and in two years we have done an amazing job in quality patient outcomes that it's really every single staff member having an absolute targeted focus every single day on what can we do to help have the best possible outcome while eliminating any risk factors and it's been a lot of really hard work." Said Alyssa Dejong, manager for the Avera Neuroscience Institute.

It's a concept that everyone on the floor has whole heartedly grasped that's also enhanced by a multidisciplinary approach to treatment.

"The entire group that is taking care the patient gets together and we actually round on each patient every single day we talk about what's going on with the patient and what we need to do to help them heal and recover as quickly as possible." Said Dejong.

The oncology department specifically has seen the biggest boost. Bone marrow transplant patients are most at risk for infection, due to their weakened and most times eliminated immune system. Avera McKennan however, is re-writing the history books.

"That unit has now gone an entire year without a single central infection we scoured the literature and we can't find any other place in the country that has those kind of numbers." Said Dr. Elliot.

The ICU also has bragging rights, they are going strong at 739 days without a central line infection. The safety and quality care practices at Avera McKennan help save plenty of money but more importantly they saves lives. And being named among the nation's elite is a fitting reward.

"It is very exciting because our staff members work incredibly hard and it's really really nice to see them get the reward and the accomplishment that they deserve for the daily work that they do." Said Dejong.

"As a patient of the hospital, going forward you can expect that we are going to continue to push to provide the utmost safe and quality care." Said Dr. Elliot.

The mortality rate for the top hospitals is about 30% lower than hospitals that didn't receive the award. And if every hospital performed at McKennan's level, more than 160,000 lives would have been saved in the past 3 years.

For more information call 877-at-avera.

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