Streamlining the inpatient experience

Published: Thursday, April 6, 2023

Because of the high numbers of COVID patients in 2020, 2021, and 2022, Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s (NGMC) heart and vascular patients were not always able to be placed in the same unit together – but now that those challenges are for the most part in the rear-view mirror, Georgia Heart Institute leaders have focused on creating the ideal environment for inpatient cardiovascular care.

Gregory Giugliano, MD, SM, FACC, FSCAI, medical director of Inpatient Cardiology, and Darlene Sweet, executive director of Cardiac and Neuroscience Nursing Services have worked closely together as a dyad team to transition all cardiac care into one unit, making the patient experience more seamless than before.

“Through this transition, our team learned the true meaning of deep interdependence,” said Dr. Giugliano. “We had to coordinate with teams from Environmental Services to IT – and involved all the nursing staff because everyone brings a different piece of knowledge that we couldn’t foresee. We are excited to be in one unit now because our patient care is a lot more efficient. Additionally, the nurses are happier because their cardiac expertise is best utilized, and we can reduce patients’ length of stay by putting patients in the right beds the first time.”

Beyond improving patient care and staff experience today, this transition also informs a massive undertaking on the horizon – the move into the new patient tower on the Gainesville campus.

 “We are planning now for the next move in 2025,” said Sweet. “That means creating similar units in our current structure to emulate the layout of the new tower in terms of cardiovascular specialty and level of acuity. We have been working with our nurses and providers to obtain the equipment that we will need there, and we have started training to ensure we are ready to go when we open our new doors!”

The current units for cardiovascular patients – Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, Critical Care Unit, Cardiovascular Surgery Unit, Progressive Cardiac Care Unit, and Heart Failure – will receive an increase in the number of patient beds when the new tower is open for care in 2025.

Learn More

To learn more about the new patient tower and Northeast Georgia Health System’s Growing the Greater Good projects,

Read and explore the full Georgia Heart Institute’s 2023 Heart & Vascular Report for more clinical developments and highlights.