5 December 2014

Sheridan Leaders: Ken Colaric, M.D.

At Sheridan, our commitment to the personal and professional development of our clinical providers has been the cornerstone of our growth. We believe that strong leadership drives efficiency, quality and safety in the hospitals we serve.

To ensure our healthcare providers have the resources and support they need to develop into true leaders, Sheridan created the Sheridan Leadership Academy, a comprehensive program that provides development, training and education to our clinical leaders to equip them with the knowledge they require in their daily responsibilities, empower those who have natural leadership skills, and assist them in evolving into true team leaders. All Sheridan medical directors participate in this collaborative environment, which provides tools and training on effective communication, process improvement and other operational topics. Clinical leaders are able to assess and augment their personal leadership styles or learn to refine decision-making expertise. The purpose of this program is to offer a curriculum with a multi-faceted approach to building leadership skills.

Annually, Sheridan’s Leadership Academy gathers at a conference to participate in panels and workshops. At the conference, awards are given to individuals who demonstrate exceptional achievements in the areas of leadership or innovation. This year’s Diamond Award, which honors a Sheridan physician who demonstrates outstanding leadership and commitment to Sheridan Healthcare’s goals and values, was given to Ken Colaric, M.D.

Dr. Colaric is the Director of Emergency Services at Sheridan partner hospital Saint Mary’s Medical Center in Blue Springs, Missouri. Dr. Colaric has been in practice for more than 18 years and has served as the medical director of Saint Mary’s since 2012. He is also the Medical Director for three regional EMS services. Dr. Colaric has improved the staffing, technology, patient flow and a variety of other metrics, making his ED an AHA Stroke and AHA Platinum Chest Pain certified facility and the winner of the 2013 Department of the Year at St. Mary’s. 

Lean Process Improvement

Two years ago, Dr. Colaric facilitated a Kaizen event at Saint Mary’s that drastically modified patient flow through the department. Until that point, Saint Mary’s had been operating in the 50 year-old model of sequential ED care: after registration, a patient would be seen by a triage nurse, go to the waiting room, move to an exam room, be seen by another nurse and then ultimately see a doctor and any specialists. All patients went through this exact process regardless of their acuity. In the 3-day Kaizen event, a team of more than ten ED personnel — from registration clerks and ED techs to radiologists and house supervisors — developed strategies to streamline the care continuum.

The team, led by Dr. Colaric, landed on a new model of parallel care in which medical personnel can treat a patient as soon as they are available, rather than waiting for their turn in the traditional sequence of ED care. In the case of high-acuity patients, all providers assess and treat the patient in concert. The Kaizen team also introduced immediate bedding and bedside registration at Saint Mary’s.

This new model of care has improved nearly every metric of success for the department. Door-to-bed and door-to-doctor times were dramatically reduced, leading to a 30 percent shorter average length of stay for patients. The ED’s “left before being seen” rate was reduced by 88 percent. The Kaizen process allowed all members of the ED team to break out of the silos they previously worked in and collaboratively find areas for process improvement.

Implementation of EHR System

Dr. Colaric has also pioneered the development of Sheridan’s Inspire Quality (IQ) system  for the emergency medicine division. Under his guidance, Saint Mary’s served as a beta test for the new system that helps doctors track quality assurance and quality improvement data. Emergency department QA/QI data, like 72-hour return rates and patient satisfaction scores, are most effective when captured in real time. The IQ system facilitates this data collection and streamlines performance evaluation and the reporting necessary to re-accreditate physicians. The use of the IQ system at Saint Mary’s has been so successful that Sheridan plans to roll out the same technology at its other partner hospitals.

Pre-Hospital Coordination

Additionally, Dr. Colaric has worked to develop strong relationships between Saint Mary’s and the local EMS services. As a medical director for EMS providers, he recognized the importance of prehospital care and worked to extend the arm of Saint Mary’s emergency medicine beyond the ED and into the community to better coordinate care from the moment a patient enters their system. This collaboration with EMS services helped Saint Mary’s receive its stroke and heart attack accreditations.

We congratulate Dr. Colaric for his Diamond Award win and his fantastic work at Saint Mary’s Medical Center!

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Leadership Academy award winners.