The Health Collaborative is pleased to recognize TriHealth’s Bethesda Alcohol & Drug Treatment team as a finalist for the Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award, for its project titled “Achieving the 3-Day Target for Scheduling Alcohol and Drug Assessments.” The award will be presented as part of the 2017 Inspire | Healthcare dinner and awards celebration, planned for November 1 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.
An assessment of success
For those battling addiction to alcohol or drugs, the power of the addiction combined with inefficiencies in the system means that treatment isn’t always easy to pursue. Multiple barriers can come into play that may hinder or even prevent success. Studies have shown the likelihood of substance abusers entering treatment is often less than 50%, in part relating to a limited tolerance for treatment wait time. This combined with high rates of drug use in Ohio warranted a deeper dive to investigate ways to close the gaps.
The Bethesda Alcohol & Drug Treatment team conducted a comprehensive assessment and action planning project, with a goal to substantially improve compliance results with key performance indicators. Compliance rates and facility/staff capacity were reviewed.
After analyzing its findings, the team implemented processes that have shown significant improvements to adherence with the three-day target. Initial appointments are now scheduled within three working days from the intake call 90% of the time. They had been significantly below the target for the fiscal years of 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, with an average of 54-61% and a range of 29-79%. In the 11 months following implementation of the countermeasures, the results improved from an average of 54-61% to an average of 83%, with a new target of 85%.
A healthy bottom line
Bethesda Alcohol & Drug Treatment researchers
This project has demonstrated a 60% improvement in the capacity for assessment appointments. Added clinical value was achieved by removing barriers for treatment entry. This project is a textbook example of LEAN techniques related to efficient outcomes. It differs from others in that reallocation of time and streamlined processes created impressive gains in a relatively short period of time. At the end of the day, these process improvements resulted in more people receiving the time-sensitive treatment they need, with greater efficiency and enhanced productivity experienced by both the patient and the treatment professionals.
About the award
The Richard M. Smith MD Leadership in Quality Improvement Award is given to the individual or team that has identified an opportunity to improve patient care and safety, and applied the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) principles of quality improvement to develop a successful intervention. The award also seeks to recognize the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improve care, and/or lower costs, with innovations that measurably improve significant business and/or clinical processes to positively impact patient care.
First presented in 2003 in memory of Dr. Richard Smith, a tireless leader and proponent of the safety of all patients, this award recognizes an individual or team who exemplifies commitment to quality improvement, makes it an organizational priority, and serves as a role model for those working to enhance the quality of care within their organization and throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities.
Meet the team

  • Mark Davis, Manager, Alcohol/Drug Treatment, Project Lead
  • Liz Harris, Primary Counselor and Team Leader
  • Lisa Humphrey, Senior Performance Improvement Consultant
  • Lisa Jones, Intake Services Specialist
  • Theresa Thomas, Intake Services Specialist
  • Bryan Smith, Assessor and Continuing Care Coordinator
  • Missy Wullenweber, Alcohol and Drug Nurse Clinician

The Health Collaborative’s Executive Team and Quality Improvement staff hope you’ll join them in congratulating the Bethesda Alcohol & Drug Treatment team for its success in “Achieving the 3-Day Target for Scheduling Alcohol and Drug Assessments.” A better experience of care for the patient and the care provider, and more efficient and timely treatment, means healthier people and a more productive community for all.
About Inspire | Healthcare:
Inspire | Healthcare is the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region’s premier annual healthcare event and awards celebration. The awards seek to recognize innovations by individuals, teams, and/or organizations in the areas of informatics, quality improvement, and population health. Other awards given annually include the Inspire Champion Award and the Hoxworth Blood Drive Awards, with separate nomination and judging processes. For more information about Inspire | Healthcare, visit
About The Health Collaborative:
The Health Collaborative strives to lead data-driven improvement initiatives that result in healthier people, better care, and smarter spending. Based in Cincinnati, we work with those who provide care, pay for care, and receive care, to find mutual solutions to healthcare’s most challenging problems. For more information about The Health Collaborative, visit