Patient Safety Q&A with Yolanda Jones, RN

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Yolanda Jones, CMS
Yolanda Jones, CMS

Yolanda Jones is a registered nurse currently serving as a nurse consultant for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). She is a subject matter expert for the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program’s Antibiotic Stewardship work and a member of CMS’ Patient Safety team. Yolanda has over 20 years of nursing experience. She recently transferred to CMS from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where she worked in the Surgical and Medical Intensive Care Unit with Wounded Warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and as an outpatient nurse case manager.

You recently were named the subject matter expert for antibiotic stewardship for the CMS QIO Program. What professional and personal experiences will you be drawing on to inform your work?

I have over 20 years of clinical experience working in various health care settings, as well as experience working with Wounded Warriors, active-duty service members, and military retirees and their families as an inpatient registered nurse and outpatient nurse case manager. In each position, I have seen firsthand the impact of the misuse and overuse of antibiotics on patients, and the impact of evidence-based science on how to prevent these adverse events.

What are the QIO Program’s chief goals and priorities for antibiotic stewardship in 2017?

We want to increase the number of outpatient settings nationwide that incorporate the core elements of antibiotic stewardship—as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — into their practices by 2019. Our intent is to be inclusive of practitioners, such as physicians, nurses, and dentists, in outpatient settings that include emergency departments, community outpatient practices, pharmacy and retail-based clinics among others. We plan to do this by educating clinicians and patients on the fundamentals of antibiotic stewardship. Specifically, in 2017, we will focus on national recruitment within these settings.

Who are some of the key partners that Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) will be collaborating with to achieve their goals?

Key federal partners include the CDC, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The QIN-QIOs also will collaborate with private organizations, academia and other health care stakeholders engaged in work around antibiotic stewardship. Additionally, collaboration will be encouraged with state and local partners like state health departments, as well as with other CMS quality improvement contractors.

How can Medicare beneficiaries and their families play a role in protecting themselves from antibiotic-related adverse drug events?

The role of patients and families in preventing antibiotic misuse and overuse is critical. They can protect themselves by engaging in education and awareness about the potential adverse consequences of using antibiotics when they are not clinically indicated, such as for viral infections. Through this education, they can have an informed dialogue with practitioners at the point of care, thus contributing to the quality and safety of their own care.

Anything else you would like QIO News readers to know?

Antibiotic stewardship is one of the key parts of CMS’ guiding principles to improve care for patients by making care safer, strengthening person and family engagement, promoting effective communication and coordination, promoting effective treatment, promoting healthy living, and making care affordable. This QIN-QIO focus area is also in alignment with nationwide priorities, such as those as outlined in the Presidential Advisory Council on Combatting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. CMS and the QIN-QIOs have a very experienced team working collaboratively to improve patient safety.