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Wing showcases innovative, cost-saving ideas

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Innovative 59th Medical Wing Gateway Academy students showcased their latest initiatives designed to boost work center efficiencies and improve the patient experience during the academy’s poster day April 13 at the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center Atrium.

The event gave students and staff an opportunity to highlight the academy’s proven method of teaching students to challenge what they see and find ways to make a difference.

“We are seeing a culture change at the 59th Medical Wing,” said Master Sgt. Aaron Bowman, Gateway Innovation Center’s NCO in charge. “Gateway students are taking the tools we are giving them and making a real impact across the wing.”

Launched in November 2014, the Gateway Academy is the only entity of its kind in the Air Force Medical Service designed to administer/execute multiple courses related to the Gateway Performance System, continuous process improvement, patient safety, quality and clinical leadership. The curriculum of the Gateway Academy also teaches methods of questioning, innovative problem-solving techniques, inspire people to challenge the status quo and teach leadership skills that foster empowerment, trust and respect. The Gateway Performance System is an evidence-based practice that forces staff to expand their view as they interact with up-to 30 unique career fields and learn the common pitfalls of healthcare process improvement.

Students conduct a capstone presentation over the duration of the class.

“We had nine capstone presentations today, representing the best capstones from the first quarter of 2017. Though still in the implementation phase, the capstones from the first quarter will potentially save patients 8,400 hours in waiting time and the wing $288,000 dollars annually, while generating more than $9.7 million annually in Relative Value Units,” said Master Sgt. Nelly Cruz, Gateway Academy NCO in charge.

The Gateway Performance System and Gateway Academy are the driving forces behind the wing’s evolution into a high reliability organization. In addition to highlighting recent projects, the poster day also served to share information about the Gateway Academy’s curriculum and generate interest in the Gateway Performance System.

“Throughout the courses that are taught, we are focused on our patients. We are teaching our Airmen and leaders how to improve quality and deliver safer, better care. They are our motivation,” Cruz said.

Anybody in the wing can attend the Gateway Academy. For more information, call 210-292-8303.