Wayne State survey finds many challenges for top health care official

Diagnostic service levels, work-flow efficiency and staff turnover are the major concerns of Wayne State University Hospital in Detroit, according to an internal survey.

The 2015-16 Quality Information Report, published this week, found many challenges facing Dr. John Jaworski, the hospital’s chief medical executive.

When asked to rate the number of staff members who were performing hospital services and those who were in the care unit and ICU — two areas of particular importance to the general patient population — Jaworski received a 41 percent rating and a 60 percent rating.

“This works out to 76 percent of our staff performing and 79 percent of our staff in care,” Jaworski said. “I would say if we performed as well as it’s supposed to, we’d be more than halfway there.”

Diagnostic services experienced difficulties through July 2018, according to the report. The average daily patient census increased 17 percent, with the highest volume occurring in imaging and endoscopy. Part of the issue is a shortage of physicians and support staff who specialize in radiology, the report said.

“We were told by the government that we were going to have this radiologist sooner or later and, unfortunately, we’re not getting them from Haiti,” Jaworski said. “We’re in a position right now where we don’t have radiology services so we’re providing them the radiology services from our doctors.”

Patient wait times and physician availability were also problems throughout the diagnostic area, the report said.

Throughout the last year, there were seven hospital acquired infections recorded.

Jaworski said that part of the problem might be a cyclical situation: During the time required to track them, some patients required surgical work that led to more infections, and the hospital could not assure that the public would be kept safe, he said.

Other observations from the report included:

Read a summary of the report here.

The system hit record revenue for each member during the last fiscal year. When asked how much was the best, Jaworski said: “Very close to a billion dollars.”

Wayne State’s newly opened three-story tower next to the current building has been under construction for six years. The $341 million project was designed to help increase emergency capacity and could provide space for some new cancer treatment.

Hospital officials do not say how it’s keeping operating costs down. Most of that money is redirected to patient services, new programs and capital projects.

The average patient length of stay dropped to 1.19 days in 2018, compared to 1.25 days in 2017.

Jaworski said the hospital is starting inpatient rehab when patients first arrive with leg pain or a sore back.

Wayne State University’s Public Health Care Alliance broke ground on a new 45,000-square-foot outpatient clinic for adult women’s health services, provided by St. John Providence Health System, in 2013. When it opened in August 2017, the women’s health center included pediatric and pediatric full-service outpatient services, including ultrasound, dermatology, internal medicine, laboratory, family practice, endocrinology, gynecology, health education and mental health services. It employs more than 700 physicians and technicians, offering outpatient services at three locations: Detroit Medical Center, Monroe Campus and St. Mary’s of Michigan. Here’s the link to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website offering more about the center. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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