In King County jails, process improvement has helped us deliver better care for inmate-patients while reducing costs.
In 2012, King County had a high number of inmates on 15 minute “suicide risk” observational checks. The absence of clear definitions led to costly round-the-clock observation, even for many low-risk inmates.
Today, inmate-patients are evaluated sooner and with greater accuracy, thanks to strong collaborative work between detention staff and Jail Health Services. The number of inmates on 15-minute checks has dropped by approximately 90%, saving more than $2 million annually, and patients are receiving the right treatment based on condition for an improved quality of care.
Also see this slideshow that provides some more detail on the work.
It is important to note that these positive outcomes have been sustained. This wasn’t a one-time project; this was a change in how we think about the work and how we do the work.