This was a year of newsworthy clinical firsts for YNHH including:
- The state's first 18-person kidney transplant chain
- First in U.S. to implant the newly FDA-approved Core Valve transcatheter aortic valve (TAVR) for the treatment of severe aortic stenosis.
- First in world to use the so-called "artificial pancreas" for people with diabetes –a pump to automatically deliver insulin 24 hours a day with closed loop technology.
A new $11.4 million, 27,000-square-foot Ronald McDonald House opened across the street from Yale New Haven Children's Hospital – further enhancing patient- and family-centered care. YNHH donated the land for the new building and is subsidizing the facility with a lease arrangement.
The Center for Musculoskeletal Care (CMC) added a new unit at the Saint Raphael Campus, with 17 private rooms outfitted with advanced technology and equipment. The unit uses Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation Assistant (VERA), a video program that allows patients to have physical therapy visits at home. Work began to convert the former McGivney Center into a CMC ambulatory surgery facility that will provide same-day surgeries for targeted bone, joint and spine conditions.
Smilow Cancer Hospital opened an Extended Care Clinic (ECC) to provide supportive care and symptom management for oncology patients who require priority medical attention outside their regular appointments. In addition, Smilow and Yale Cancer Center launched a Liver Cancer Program with specialists from different disciplines who offer advanced diagnosis and treatment. A new Adult Sickle Cell Infusion Center also opened to administer blood transfusions and provide an alternative to visiting the ED during pain crises. Thanks to this center and the work on the Sickle Cell General Medicine inpatient unit, ED visits by adult Sickle Cell Patients dropped by 46 percent over the past five years.
YNHH became the first hospital in Connecticut, and one of only a few in the United States, to employ Stroke Nurse Navigators, who provide expertise and assistance to stroke patients upon admission, through recovery, and post discharge to ensure a safe and smooth transition across the care continuum. Other unique highlights included the launch of video visits at the Transplantation Center and a new program with Yale Medicine to offer clinical services to international patients.
Patient experience, as measured by Press Ganey surveys, improved in certain areas and was above target this year for the ambulatory areas. To improve the patient experience, the team developed a comprehensive plan to ensure every employee at YNHH delivers an exceptional patient and family experience. Components of the plan included development of a communication training program and rollout of new Standards of Professional Behavior for employees and physicians and focused work on creating a healing environment.
In an era where there is growing concern about physician "burnout", the biannual Medical Staff Engagement Survey demonstrated positive trends in physician leadership opportunities, satisfaction with the Electronic Medical Record, availability of supplies/technologies and good relationships with clinicians. Top areas to improve included communication about YNHH's strategic direction; timeliness of physician consultations, and support for growth and success of individual practices.
The Medical Staff Engagement Committee hosted three well-attended events designed to build camaraderie among the medical staff, a recognition event for advanced care providers and two educational events. Other projects were enhancements to Mobile Heartbeat and renovation of medical staff and house staff lounges on York Street.