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Hallmark Health System Magazine

Hallmark Health System Magazine - a health and wellness publication

The information in this magazine is not a substitute for medical advice or professional medical care. If you have a question about your health, please consult your physician.  

Hallmark Health System Magazine / 
Summer 2015: Hallmark Health's orthopedics team gets Charlene back to her active lifestyle after knee replacement

hhsmag 15summer pp 275












Previous Issues

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Winter 2015: Hallmark Health at the pulse of heart health 

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Spring 2014: Nursing excellence: Hallmark Health earns Magnet® recognition

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Fall 2014: The importance of primary care

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Winter 2014: In his own words: Life after a heart attack

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Summer 2013: Nationally recognized homecare in your community

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Fall 2013: Leading the way in women's health care

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Spring 2012: New pet therapy program brings comfort to patients 

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Summer 2012: The finest orthopedic care in these parts

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Fall 2012: Hallmark Health System hospitals earn A grade for patient safety

Hallmark Health System Magazine / Winter 2012: Now open -- New Urgent Care Center



Safety Counts!

A newsletter highlighting safety at Hallmark Health System


Do you have a safety story to share? The Safety Counts team wants to hear from you. Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Download entire PDF by clicking here.

Safety Counts! Vol. 3., No. 8 September/October 2015


Flu season preparedness is underway

Hallmark Health System has launched its annual mandatory vaccination campaign. All employees, contract employees, physicians, students, volunteers or othersfluphoto who work at a Hallmark Health site or provide a Hallmark Health service are required to get a flu vaccine. Those who cannot comply (for medical or religious reasons, for example) must wear a mask at work if they come into contact with others.

As in previous years, members of the infection control team have organized flu clinics that began October 1. Staff can drop in for their flu shots
on day shifts; for other shifts, evening and night supervisors administer vaccinations. Offsite locations also will be covered and inpatients will be
vaccinated as well. The campaign runs through November 8. “We want to safeguard everyone,” said Michelle Corrado, PharmD, MHA, system director of pharmacy services. “The two best things we at Hallmark Health can do to protect our patients during flu season are getting vaccinated and practicing perfect hand hygiene.”

Last year, staff at both Hallmark Health hospitals achieved vaccination rates above 90 percent, while the state aggregate percentage reached 86
percent. “Our goal this year is 95 percent,” said Corrado.

About the 2015-16 flu vaccine
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all of the 2015-16 influenza vaccine is being made to protect against the three kinds of flu viruses that most commonly circulate among people today: influenza A
(H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses and influenza B viruses. Hallmark Health will be using this trivalent vaccine. New this year is that “we will be making available a high-dose version of the vaccine to staff
and volunteers who are 65 and over,” said Corrado.


Redcing preventable harm, department by department

Pharmacy contributes to significant patient safety improvements through lean management system

Quality is a key component (along with people, service, finance and growth) of Hallmark Health System’s commitment to service excellence. To improve quality, Hallmark Health has established a long-term goal of reducing incidents of preventable harm;each department is looking for ways to contribute to the goal.

The pharmacy department has become an early adopter of the organization’s lean management system and is working on three projects using root cause problem solving to improve quality, explained Michelle Corrado, PharmD, MHA, system director of pharmacy services:

PROJECT 1: Patients at high risk for readmission (such as those with heart failure or pneumonia) receive a consultation with a pharmacist. “Many patients are onScpic2 complex medication regimens and we want to be sure they know about how to take their medications once they leave the hospital.”

RESULT: When the program began in February, 38 percent of patients were receiving counseling; by the end of September, 71 percent were.

PROJECT 2: Patients who are relatively immobile receive appropriate blood-thinning medications. “All inpatients are evaluated as to whether they are at low or high risk of getting a blood clot during their hospital stay.”

RESULT: When the program began in October 2014, 49 percent of patients were having their clotting status documented and addressed; by the end of September, 98 percent were.

PROJECT 3: Inpatients needing the antibiotic vancomycin get just the right amount. “We measure creatinine levels to make sure a patient is not getting too much of the drug, which could cause toxicity.”

RESULT: When the program began in February, 8.4 percent of patients needing vancomycin had elevated creatinine levels; by the end of September, the percent had been reduced to zero.


Barcoding comes to outpatient surgery

Bar-coding technology has been used in hospitals for a number of years and on inpatient units at Hallmark Health System since 2009. This summer, the technology was implemented for the first time at Hallmark Health in an outpatient setting – outpatient surgery. While bar coding in outpatient areas has not been widely implemented in hospitals, it can add another layer of patient safety to the medication dispensing process.

“The goal of bar coding for medications, whether for inpatients or outpatients, is to cover five ‘rights,’” said Bobbi Zinck, RN, CAPA, clinical practice leader for Melrose-Wakefield Hospital’s surgical day care and postanesthesia care unit. “These are the right patient, right medication, right dose, right time, and right route of administration.”

Many patients coming for outpatient surgery require medications. Particularly important are antibiotics to prevent wound infections, which should be givenBarcoding within 30 minutes of the surgical incision. Having bar-coding technology can speed up the process as well as improve safety.

Andras Sandor, MD, chairman of surgery at Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, said: “The system allows the surgeon to review each patient’s allergies and medications when writing the order, and the bar-coding technology further reduces the chances of error. Entering orders on the day prior to surgery allows the pharmacy to precisely select and have medications ready for the procedure on time. This technology eliminates the need for handling paper orders, faxing them to the pharmacy and then waiting for somebody to complete them.”

Added Zinck, “Once the pharmacy verifies the order, we use the scanner before administering any medications. We scan the patient’s electronic medical record, then the wristband, and then the medication to ensure all match the order. Then we can administer the medication just before surgery begins.”



Making a habit of hand hygiene

Among the most effective ways to prevent hospital-acquired infections is also the simplest – proper hand hygiene.handhygiene

Hallmark Health System is reinvigorating its hand hygiene awareness efforts with a number of activities, including a kick-off hand hygiene relay held in August. “The idea is lighthearted but the purpose is serious,” said Karen Costigan, BSN, RN, NE-BC, patient care director on Medical 5 at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. “The goal of the relay was to remind staff about proper technique for using antiseptic foam to clean hands.” This involves rubbing the sanitizer into the palms, on the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and on fingernails, finger tips, thumbs and wrists. The process should take 15-30 seconds.

On the medical-surgical floors at Hallmark Health, there are sanitizer dispensers both inside and outside every patient room, plus sinks in ever y room in case the more traditional soap-and-water technique is required – for example, if patients have certain infections or if hands are visibly dirty. Proper hand-washing technique involves wetting the hands, applying soap, scrubbing all surfaces of the hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds, rinsing with warm water and turning off the faucet using a towel.

Other components of the hand hygiene campaign include signs and posters, reminders in staff huddles, patient education materials, and encouraging staff to speak up to remind others to clean their hands.

Aubrie Clements, BSN, RN, who participated in the early-morning hand hygiene relay, said it was “a fun way to remind us of making hand hygiene a habit, with several opportunities ever y time we have contact with a patient.”

National guidelines suggest five key moments for optimal hand hygiene – before touching a patient, before performing a clean or aseptic procedure, after exposure to bodily fluids, after touching a patient and after touching a patient’s surroundings.




The Insider

A newsletter for employees of Hallmark Health System  


Hallmark Health System's employee newsletter, The Insider, highlights the inside story about our workplace and its people. At Hallmark Helath, the important and impacful work we do starts from the inside. These pages are dedicated to sharing news, features and ideas from across the system. 

The Insider: October 2015

Insider October 2015 Cover


Previous Issues




Annual Report


Patient Handbook


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