Mayo’s Leadership Program Sparks Improvements in one of Pittsburgh’s Largest Medical Centers

At St. Clair Hospital, Emergency Medicine Chair Jason Biggs, M.D., has a saying that the sickest patient is the one that hasn’t yet arrived. He knows that when that sick patient comes through the door, the Emergency Department (ED) is fully dependent on other areas of the hospital—labs, radiology and inpatient units—to function. That’s one of the reasons why he and his team from St. Clair Hospital, a member of Mayo Clinic Care Network, attended Mayo Clinic’s Professional Leadership Development Program in September 2019.

“When we are diagnosing a critically ill patient, it’s vital to have integration between all areas of care,” says Dr. Biggs. “We need to be as efficient as possible when admitting the patient, undergoing a CT scan and reading the radiology results. Plus, when there are 20 people in the waiting room, we need to make sure we’re working as effectively as possible to evaluate and treat them.”

While attending the Professional Leadership Program at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Biggs as well as two other St. Clair Hospital leaders—Emergency Department Manager Jacob Meitlzer and Medical Imaging Manager Maurica Moore—discussed ways they could reduce the length of stay for patients in the ED, especially for those needing a CT scan.

The trio started with a few basic facts: St. Clair’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based ED sees 175 patients resulting in 60 CT scans daily.  They identified that if their teams could save just a few minutes per patient that would ensure lots of downstream positive effects, including better outcomes for patients, less critically ill people in the waiting room and faster door-to-provider time.

“At the conference, we were allotted lots of breakout time to work together,” Dr. Biggs says. “We were able to talk at length, create ideas, and then benchmark them against other leaders from institutions who were also at the conference.”

When Dr. Biggs and his team returned to St. Clair Hospital, they hit the ground running, identifying ways to better integrate the ED with surrounding and supporting departments. As a result, providers in the ED saw a noticeable reduction in patient wait times—in some cases, a 15-minute improvement.

Dr. Biggs says, “The leadership course empowered us to take action and then provided us the necessary steps to make improvements.”