January 3rd, 2014
By Charlotte Prong Parkhill
Kitchener Post staff
Staff and volunteers at St. Mary’s General Hospital had plenty to be proud of in 2013, says president Don Shilton.
The Kitchener hospital and cardiac care centre ranked very highly in two separate reports that measure health care services.
A report by the National Research Corporation on Ontario hospitals found that St. Mary’s scored higher than 90 per cent of the other hospitals in the report in two key areas related to patient satisfaction.
“I think it was tremendously rewarding for our staff and physicians and volunteers to have our patients score us so highly,” Shilton said.
A second report that measures hospitals across Canada ranked St. Mary’s in the top 10 in terms of readmission rates. It also found that the hospital has a very low average cost for inpatient hospital visits, and St. Mary’s hospital standardized mortality ratio is better than both the provincial and national numbers.
“Those three indicators, in our view, were a great reflection of the quality of care offered here, as well as our ability to manage the ever-increasing pressures associated with costs in health care,” he said.
With a new focus on housekeeping and use of antibiotics, St. Mary’s was also able to reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections such as C-difficile and MRSA by 35 per cent in 2013.
The hospital also celebrated its 10th anniversary as a cardiac centre in 2013. More than 7,000 heart surgeries and 10,000 angioplasty procedures have been performed.
In 2014, St. Mary’s is expanding its cardiac arrhythmia program. The province has approved a program for an implant that helps treat an irregular heartbeat, known as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.
The hospital has just started implanting the devices, and Shilton said he hopes to get approval in 2014 for renovations necessary to expand the program.
St. Mary’s has also seen success with its website that provides approximate emergency room wait times, first introduced in 2012. The site sees about 4,000 visitors a month, and there’s been a 12 per cent drop in the number of Level 4 and Level 5 patients — the least sick — who are coming to emergency. Shilton said a survey indicates those people are still receiving care, but are opting to visit family doctors or urgent care clinics that are less expensive to the health care system.
“We continue to work to reduce the wait times that patients experience in our emergency department,” he said.
The second biggest challenge in 2014 is expected to be the budget, though Shilton said no major changes in staffing or services is expected.