Mid Coast Hospital Kicks Off Program to Engage Nurses in Leading Quality Improvement Efforts

Mid Coast Hospital has been selected to participate in Aligning Forces for Quality-Transforming Care at the Bedside (AF4Q TCAB). Bringing together hospital teams from across the state to lead improvements in the quality and safety of patient care, it is a part of an innovative nationwide program led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy dedicated to improving the health and healthcare of all Americans.

AF4Q TCAB is a new nurse-led hospital program that engages frontline staff to work together to identify, pilot, test, and adopt new practices over an 18-month period. The program also aims to increase the vitality and retention of our nurses and frontline staff, engage and improve the patient's experience of care, and improve the effectiveness of the entire care team. Participating nurses will then share their successes and lessons learned with other hospitals across the country.

"As Maine and the nation look at improving care, it is important that we provide local models of reforms that are good for everyone," said Lois Skillings, President & CEO of Mid Coast Health Services. "Mid Coast Hospital's participation in this program shows that we are committed to being a leader in improving patient care and increasing efficiency to produce better outcomes."

It's all part of Aligning Forces for Quality, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's signature effort to lift the overall quality of healthcare in targeted communities, as well as reduce racial and ethnic disparities and provide models for national reform.

Since 2007, the state of Maine has been targeted by RWJF with resources to improve healthcare. Maine Quality Counts was selected by RWJF to lead the local AF4Q alliance. In all, 16 regions of the country have been designated as part of Aligning Forces. In each region, a range of efforts to help doctors, nurses and hospitals improve quality - as well as engage consumers to be better patients - is being tested.

"Participation in the TCAB program will empower nurses at the bedside to find innovative and creative ways to change the manner in which care is delivered to our patients," said Deb MacLeod, Vice President, Nursing & Patient Care Services, Mid Coast Hospital. "These changes will be focused on creating more efficient ways of doing their work so that in the end nurses have more time to spend with patients, and ultimately our patients have a better care experience."

The AF4Q TCAB program in Maine is being convened by Maine Quality Counts. Funded by RWJF, AF4Q and all of the regional TCAB efforts are coordinated by The Center for Health Care Quality at The George Washington University Medical Center School of Public Health and Health Services, which serves as the national program office for the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative.

Local hospitals were recently asked to apply to participate in this hospital-based quality improvement component of the initiative.