Health system initiatives

Health system initiatives to improve patient care quality and safety at Duke include:

Balanced scorecard metrics set goals and milestones for employees, individual divisions, and the health system at large. Balanced scorecard metrics help divisions and departments within Duke University Health System (DUHS) define and measure their goals. They allow different groups within DUHS to ensure that their goals are linked or aligned with the organization as a whole.

Capturing and evaluating race, ethnicity, and language data from patients allows Duke physicians to identify disparities in the treatment of diverse patients and improve processes that guard against unequal care. This ensures that all of Duke’s patients receive the same standard of quality care. 

Care teams composed of physicians, nurses, social workers, and other health care professionals who work together to make sure that someone is responsible for every facet of patient care. For example, at Duke Primary Care care teams prepare patients for their office visits, ensure patients receive needed tests and education, and follow up with patients after they leave the office.

Magnet Nursing status for Duke University Hospital, Duke Raleigh Hospital, and Duke Regional Hospital helped improve overall safety and quality of patient care by providing a detailed look at initiatives taking place throughout the health system. Magnet status is an award given by the American Nurses’ Credentialing Center (ANCC), an affiliate of the American Nurses Association, to hospitals that satisfy a set of criteria designed to measure the strength and quality of their nursing. Only 5 percent of the nation's hospitals have earned this designation, the highest level of national recognition to health care organizations that demonstrate sustained excellence in nursing care. Since 2009, all three of our hospitals were granted Magnet status as a result of the process.

Patient safety and clinical quality committees address safety and quality issues at unit, department, and hospital levels. Hospital administration and medical leadership provide general oversight at each Duke hospital, and the Office of Safety and Quality provides global oversight across our hospitals and clinics. The work of these local- and system-level committees and offices is reported to a special Patient Safety and Quality Committee of the Duke University Health System Board of Directors.

Staff identification by uniform color makes patients and families feel safe and comfortable. At Duke Raleigh Hospital, each patient is informed of the unique uniform color of the staff at the time of their admission. 

Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) is an initiative that implements changes to improve surgical care. At each hospital the SCIP team, which includes more than a dozen doctors and nurses, introduces surgical care initiatives. For example, Durham Regional Hospital introduced antibiotic prescribing tools in 2006 to help reduce surgical site infections.

Timely reporting of critical lab values aids medical staff in recognizing and responding to possible life-threatening situations. A “critical alert” reporting process promotes prompt reporting of this important medical information to the care team.

Tobacco-free campus prohibits smoking in or around any of Duke Health's facilities, including the campuses of its three hospitals. Duke enacted this policy in July 2007 to promote the health and wellness of patients and hospital staff. To support the initiative, Duke expanded its roster of smoking cessation programs.