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Robyn Mckeefrey – Stony Brook Southampton Hospital 

A vision for healthcare excellence 

Robyn Mckeefrey, the vice president of quality, risk management, patient safety, and legal at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, takes her responsibilities seriously. After all, she works for a community hospital delivering around 700 babies annually with a busy emergency room and provides medical and surgical specialties that serve diverse communities on the east end of Long Island, including the Shinnecock Indian Nation and the affluent Hamptons region.

Robyn Mckeefrey | Vice President, Quality, Risk Management, Patient Safety, Legal | Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

Robyn Mckeefrey | Vice President, Quality, Risk Management, Patient Safety, Legal | Stony Brook Southampton Hospital

Mckeefrey’s multifaceted role spans quality, risk management, patient safety, the patient experience, clinical nutrition, case management /social services, guest services, language services, diversity equity and inclusion, ethics and legal consultations, showcasing her ability to wear multiple hats in a small community hospital setting. 

With a background as an obstetrical nurse, Mckeefrey’s journey into a more expansive role was catalyzed by Stony Brook recognizing her potential for a larger impact. She empowers falls reduction and infection prevention incentives, clinical outcomes, patient safety and the patient experience, diving deep into the root causes to achieve the ambitious goals of zero harm and zero infections. Embracing cutting-edge technology, Mckeefrey and her team utilize data to formulate plans with benchmarks, focusing on best practices,  implementing protocols and adjusting policies. 

“When you manage risks well, quality, patient safety and the patient experience will follow,” she says. 

Safety first 

The heart of Mckeefrey’s passion lies the “Together we Stand, Divided we Fall” initiative. The hospital has orchestrated an extensive educational campaign recognizing that safety and fall prevention are collective responsibilities. This campaign engages all facets of the hospital community, including bedside staff, nurses, nursing assistants, clerical staff, residents, attending physicians, and ancillary staff. She says it is everyone’s responsibility to keep patients safe.   

“Through education and implementation of fall prevention elements, we aim to provide the highest level of safety and heightened awareness, ultimately preventing patient falls,” she says.  

Dynamic infection prevention efforts are in place by conducting frequent rounds on units, educating staff and implementing best practices to minimize and prevent hospital-acquired infections, like CAUTI (catheter associate urinary tract infection) and CLABSI (central line-associated bloodstream infection), SSI (surgical site infection) and C. Diff infection. 

The team participates in educational sessions on best practice techniques, conducts root cause analyses on each infection and reviews identified gaps for future prevention opportunities. This meticulous approach includes frequent handwashing monitoring, education, and compliance across all hospital areas to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. 

Looking ahead, Mckeefrey says she and her team prioritize elevating the patient experience, for example, with their guest services team approach. She emphasizes enhanced communication amongst the healthcare team, doctors, nurses, ancillary team members, patients and families, fostering a collaborative environment.  

“Emphasis is placed on ensuring communication with patients is based on their preferred method and language, be it through live interpreters, language video services, sign language or other communication assistive devices,” Mckeefrey says.  

In addition, Mckeefrey and her team have implemented a comprehensive program to address workplace violence. This includes educational presentations, early recognition of signs of escalation, prevention/reduction strategies, and emotional supportive services for staff involved in such events.  

Managing risk 

For Mckeefrey, risk management is not just a part of her profession; it’s a philosophy deeply embedded in her approach to healthcare administration. Her unique ability to tie together medicine,  the law and ethics is a defining aspect of her role. By acknowledging the inherent connections between these disciplines, she navigates legal complexities and enhances the overall quality of patient care. Her mantra emphasizes that effective risk management correlates with heightened quality, patient safety, and overall satisfaction. 

Embracing the latest technological advancements, Mckeefrey leverages data to formulate meticulous risk management plans with measurable benchmarks. This approach involves a proactive stance, diving deep into the root causes of potential risks. She and her team strive for zero harm, zero infections and high reliability through this data-driven decision-making.  

Mckeefrey’s dedication extends to an ongoing pursuit of best practices. She leads her team in assembling protocols, adjusting policies, and staying abreast of industry advancements. The proactive nature of their approach ensures that the hospital remains at the forefront of patient safety, addressing evolving challenges with agility and foresight. 

Mckeefrey fosters collaboration through regular meetings and consultation with hospital counsel. She maintains an open-door approach that exemplifies her commitment to building relationships, transparent communication, visibility, and trust.  

“This helps to ensure that issues are addressed promptly and the entire team feels empowered to contribute to the risk management process without fear of reprisal, thus contributing to the Stony Brook culture of safety,” she says.  

Passion for medicine 

With over three decades of experience in nursing, particularly in the specialty of maternal child health, Mckeefrey’s passion for medicine, ethics and law stems from her upbringing. Influenced by her father’s legal experience and her family’s involvement in healthcare, she developed an interest in the intersection of medicine and law. Pursuing a master’s degree in Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and  Bioethics from Stony Brook University further solidified her expertise in healthcare administration. 

Mckeefrey’s dedication to quality, risk management, patient safety, and legal aspects of healthcare administration is palpable. With extensive experience in maternal child expertise, case management risk management, ethics and patient experience, she significantly contributes to the hospital’s success. 

“I’ve always felt a personal calling to healthcare,” she says. “I’m proud of my career and role in bringing better care to patients and, hopefully overall, a role model to current and future healthcare workers.  

Her academic accomplishments and career trajectory underscore her efforts to bridge medicine and law in her administrative role. Additionally, her authorship of the children’s book “Mommy Went to the Hospital to Bring Home a New Baby” in 2022 reflects her dedication to patient education and advocacy, offering valuable insights from a child’s perspective. 

“Possessing a multi-faceted knowledge base combined with years of seasoned experience in healthcare, my passion, empathy and compassion lead the path forward to safer patient care for our patients, families and the community we are proud to serve.” 

View this feature in the Vanguard Spring II 2024 Edition here.

Published on: April 15, 2024

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