Susan Kilgore, 2017 DAISY Award Honoree for Extraordinary Nurses in Patient Flow


It is with great pleasure that I nominate Mrs. Susan Kilgore, RN, VP of Patient Management/Rural Outreach at Methodist Healthcare System (MHS) for consideration of the 2017 Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses in Patient Flow. Susan is a dedicated leader who has implemented strategies that have impacted the lives of hundreds of patients daily over the past 10 years. Her commitment, compassion, as well as operational and clinical knowledge created one of the first Centralized Transfer and Bed Management centers in the world. With her leadership and using the data provided by Tele Tracking’s Custom Reporting Solutions™ we were able to identify our barriers in patient flow. As an example, the Environmental Services department (EVS) was engaged early to reduce turn time to facilitate the patients being tucked into bed and decrease wait times. Susan is devoted to patient care as she continues to find new ways to improve our throughput and patient flow. It is her ability to constantly encourage a strong team atmosphere and bridge gaps between senior leadership and our staff, which gives us the tools to provide exceptional patient care.

Susan has led many successful transfers, but there is one that I’ll never forget. It was Thanksgiving Day, and we had just received a call for a patient that needed a transfer from one of our rural facilities. The patient was pregnant with twins, very close to term and was found to have a dissecting aortic aneurysm thus placing both mother and babies’ lives in danger. We accepted the transfer and while the patient was being transferred, Susan led our team by finding a Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon and an Obstetrician to accept and perform the required surgeries. It was a nail biting experience, but we were all relieved to hear that the mother and babies were all safe and out of danger. This was all possible because of the effort and leadership of Susan.

It never ceases to amaze me how hard she works. Irrespective of how many hours of sleep she’s had or how much overtime she has worked, Susan is always ready for the challenges that we face daily. Through these challenges she has led our organization from averaging 300 transfers a month in 2009 to averaging over 1800 transfers per month in 2016 without building more beds. Working with physician groups and hospital leadership improved processes and protocols created more capacity. In the same timeframe she has implemented new initiatives to improve the patient outcomes such as Telemedicine, Stroke Alerts, International transfers, Ready to Move (RTM)/Early request process, Community Access Portal (CAP), On Call Schedule (OCS), Heart Alert process, the Very Important Athlete Initiative and many more. With Susan’s efforts our hospital system has grown to control the largest market share in San Antonio and we continue to grow.

As part of the system strategic committee she is responsible for new and innovative strategies within MHS with the help of Tele Tracking and their forward thinking technology such as CAP and On Call.

As a member of the MHS Throughput committee she helps keep the focus on making MHS accessible to all within our region. As part of the team she will identifying barriers and offer solutions such as the push to incentivize MD groups with bed dirty by 1300 metrics rather than d/c order by 1300. Discharges by 11am and 1pm have increased by 10 percentage points.

Ultimately, the effort to improve capacity and efficiency is to facilitate timely and appropriate care for patients. Much of that occurs through the processes implemented, and the challenges through personal intervention to arrange care. Susan and the Patient Placement Center are focused on “Placing the Patient First in Patient Placement”.

From Division President and CEO Jaime Wesolowski:
Susan Sewell Kilgore began the journey to create the Methodist Healthcare System (MHS) Centralized Bed Management and Transfer Center (Patient Placement Center) in 2009. The ability to see and manage capacity across the enterprise has allowed MHS market share to grow from 44.3% in October 2009 to 51.1% in 2016. This success is the result of implementing tools, processes and having stellar employees in appropriately allocated positions. Susan remains open-minded and easily adapts to new and improved processes when opportunities for improvement are identified. Susan works actively with MHS leadership and is well respected by MHS Chief Executive Officers, Chief Nursing Officers and Chief Medical officers. The ability to build relationships internally and with external customers is a trait critical to both her individual success and the organization's success. Susan is tireless and is always available to answer the phone, solve a problem or find a resource.

Susan has shared our successes with countless healthcare providers throughout the US and UK who are striving to achieve world-class capacity management-all in the spirit of putting patients first and saving lives. Susan is active in the HCA Throughput team, TeleHealth team and the Behavioral Health team offering guidance and her expertise throughout the company. Susan's giving and compassionate spirit is one to be admired. She is truly a role model of the mission and values of the Methodist Healthcare System.

(L to R) Tena Carraher, Co-founder The DAISY Foundation, Nancy Niski-Martin, Director Patient Placement Ops Methodist Healthcare, Susan Kilgore, DAISY Award Honoree for Extraordinary Nurses in Patient Flow/Methodist Healthcare, Nanne Finis, Vice President, TeleTracking