Orlando Health St. Cloud Hospital Celebrates Anniversary by Announcing Enhanced Patient Safety Measures


Orlando Health St. Cloud Hospital is observing two years of operating under the Orlando Health umbrella by announcing patient safety and quality measures that have been introduced since being acquired by Orlando Health on July 1, 2020.

"One of the first steps in our quality-enhancement program was to bring in a physician champion," said Thibaut van Marcke, president, Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, and senior vice president, Orlando Health's southeast region, which includes Orlando Health St. Cloud. "Aparna Sharma, MD, joined the organization in April 2021, becoming the hospital's first-ever chief quality officer. She has implemented processes and procedures, such as safety checklists and daily huddles, that promote a system-wide focus on providing the highest quality of care to our patients."

Included in the process and procedural changes is an extremely successful hospital-wide hand hygiene initiative, the compliance of which is monitored daily. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), when integrated with other critical measures, appropriate hand hygiene is the single most effective action to stop the spread of infection. 

Under Dr. Sharma's leadership, the hospital now provides 24/7 physician coverage in the intensive care unit with additional advanced practice providers support during the day, further increasing safety and care for these very critically ill patients.

Chief Nursing Officer Jessie Reid has also been instrumental in leading the charge on many of the nursing and patient care improvements. Under her guidance, the hospital has begun work to become stroke accredited and make sure that every stroke patient who enters the hospital gets treated in accordance with the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) performance and quality measures. Orlando Health St. Cloud has partnered with EMS in conducting education programs and drills on GWTG, and has established a stroke coordinator to help monitor stroke patients to ensure timely and evidence-based care.

These and numerous other changes have resulted in a 60 percent reduction in hospital acquired infections in just two years.

"We recognize improving safety in a healthcare setting is a constant journey," said Dr. Sharma. "All of our quality and safety achievements may not be fully reflected in national hospital quality measures for several years. But we continue to look for ways to improve how we treat our patients. It's a shared value across the hospital."

Technology has also been an integral component to Orlando Health St. Cloud's intense focus on patient safety and quality. In 2021, the hospital implemented Epic, the industry's most comprehensive health record system, which streamlines health data and care delivery for patients and clinicians. The new system gives physicians the ability to manage a patient's orders through entering medications and procedures. With nearly 100 percent participation from clinicians, these entries have helped increase efficiency and reduce errors.

The hospital has also implemented barcode medication administration technology, which is the most consistent way to ensure the correct dosage of medication is administered to patients at the most appropriate time. Additionally, a falls committee was established to improve the safety of patients by preventing falls and injury.