by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
Back in school when the topic of leadership and organizational structure came up, Sue Douglas’ classmates started to glaze over.
But for the Moore High School grad those classes were the highlight of her day.
So it’s no surprise that six years later she’s head of quality improvement for one of the most streamlined and innovative health care companies in Oklahoma at Carter Healthcare.
Go online right now to medicare.gov and you’ll see Carter is the only five-star home health company in the entire metropolitan area.
That doesn’t happen by accident.
“I just knew in high school nursing was the route to go,” Douglas said of her role with the company. “It was a good recession-proof job and I also liked caring for people and the clinical aspect. I could handle the blood and the guts but I also just enjoyed the medical side along with the entrepreneurial aspect of it.”
Douglas is the Quality Assessment Performance Improvement Coordinator and an assistant director of nursing.
Carter Healthcare is Medicare certified and JCAHO accredited.
“I like that the technology changes and the business changes and there’s a lot of different avenues you can go with health care,” the University of Central Oklahoma nursing grad said. “That’s why I feel like my job title and what I do fits so perfectly for me,” Douglas said. “Coming here and being able to be in that quality role you’re able to really assess what we are doing, if it’s efficient and is it effective. It may be getting our end result but are we doing it fast enough.”
“There’s a two-fold for quality, you want to increase the quality for your patients but you also want to increase the quality for the people who are working for you.”
Douglas’ professional life revolves around numbers. But instead of looking forward to a certain date on the calendar for reports to come in, Douglas has real-time access to what’s going on throughout Carter’s seven-state area.
With a pharmacist as a boss, Douglas understands President Stan Carter comes from a very analytical background.
“He wants to know we’re making a difference and I feel like we’re able to show that with data,” Douglas said.
Douglas stepped into her current role a few years ago.
Just a couple weeks in she opened up Carter’s recent Joint Commission Survey to read her company was “data rich, information poor.”
“Since then I’ve been on a crusade to fix that,” Douglas said. “I feel like that truly is a statement that stands corrected.”
Douglas makes sure she and her team share that data at every possible turn.
“If there’s any issues we’re all available. And we also try to let everyone know we’re not back here creating more processes for them,” Douglas said. “I show them it’s more about finding a root cause in the office than it is trying to say ‘you’ve got a problem.’”
“They see the difference,” Douglas said. “I get feedback all the time that they walked into a meeting with 10 people and we were the only people there giving them data.”
Douglas has worked in oncology and home health before coming into her new role. It’s always been her goal to work in home health. She craved the autonomy and the case management aspects of the role.
Now she has a broad-view of one of fastest-emerging modalities of care.
“People are getting older and they want to stay in their homes,” Douglas said. “We go in and we want to prevent them from getting sicker and going into the hospital and we want to help them maintain their life and their health.”
Falls are a major concern in a variety of health care settings. Douglas is tracking those numbers throughout Carter in real time. She’s looking at how many of those falls send someone to the hospital.
“We try to tell them it’s not looking bad on you if you have falls with your patients. What we’re trying to figure out is why is that happening,” Douglas said. “Once we identify that they fell we can look at what types of meds were they on, what’s the primary diagnosis they were coming on service with and what environment they live in.
“We try to let them know reporting isn’t bad. It’s good because how else do we know if there’s an issue in that area. That’s going to increase satisfaction overall.”
And that’s one category everyone at Carter loves to track.