Projects Take Flight at Quality Fair

Quality Fair Winners
Photos by David Christopher

Medical Center administrators and Quality Fair winners (left to right): Kenneth Polonsky, MD, executive vice president for medical affairs at the Medical Center, dean, Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine; Gretchen Pacholek, BSN, RN-PCM, assistant manager, inpatient nursing; Ralanda Harvey, RN; Christine Baker, RN, CWOCN; Gwen Schoenfeld, RN; Kathy Shanahan, clinical director for multispecialty surgical care; Kathleen Douglass, RT(R)(CT)(M), CT manager, radiology; Chet Szerlag, FACHE, CMPE, executive administrator, radiation and cellular oncology; and Bruce Minsky, MD, professor of radiation and cellular oncology, associate dean for clinical quality and chief quality officer.

By Kelin Hall

Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, remembers an era long ago when nobody questioned doctors or hospitals. Times have definitely changed, the leader of the Medical Center noted that today’s consumers are savvier than ever, and healthcare providers are proactive in identifying problems and seeking solutions.

“There’s no question that if we’re going to make a big impact on patient quality, it has to be a collaborative effort,” said Polonsky, dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and Pritzker School of Medicine and executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago.

Polonsky’s remarks opened the October 21 awards ceremony at the annual Quality Fair, an event showcasing quality improvement projects taking place throughout the hospital. More than 40 teams’ posters filled the atrium of the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine, a huge increase from last year’s 13 entries. “These are collaborative studies between physicians and nurses and members of the hospital administration,” commended Polonsky.
Bruce Minsky, MD, professor of radiation and cellular oncology, associate dean for clinical quality and chief quality officer, remarked that in the Internet era, information about hospital quality is available with the click of a mouse. “You can look at websites and see how we perform compared to other institutions,” Minsky said. “I think the increase in quality projects is representative of a desire to keep competitive.”

The winning teams each received $500. They can spend the cash however they wish, so long as they spend it together. The winners were chosen by eight judges—nurses, hospital staff and physicians. Projects were evaluated on their use of evidence-based methods to identify problems and opportunities for improvement, on the execution of their plan, and on how rigorously they analyzed their results.

What set the winning teams apart, said David Harriman, director of the Center for Quality, was that they linked their projects to broader Medical Center initiatives, saw their results, critically evaluated them and then determined their next point of action. “We’re looking forward to seeing at next year’s fair the results and follow-up from those projects that were in progress,” he added.

Here are the winning teams:

Reducing Radiation Exposure During CT-guided Musculoskeletal Interventional Procedures
Scott Stacy, MD, associate professor of radiology, section chief, musculoskeletal radiology; Orlin Hadjiev, MD, musculoskeletal radiology fellow, 2009 to 2010; Larry B. Dixon, MD associate professor of radiology; Christopher Straus MD, associate professor of radiology, director of Medical Student Education; and Mitchell CT technologists

Let’s CHAT: Communication Health-Information and Treatment Using the Patient Whiteboard
Kathy Shanahan, clinical director, multispecialty surgical care center; Reasheal Leahmann, RN; Kelly Smith, RN; Clarice Remied, NSA; Corrine Fleming, NSA; Kellie Ramsey-Strong, NSA; Sheila Kilpatrik, PSC; Ruth Barnes, clinical specialist for multispecialty surgical care; Raquel Park, clinical educator for multispecialty surgical care; Gretchen Pacholek, BSN, RN-PCM, assistant manager, inpatient nursing

ICU Skin Care Team Nurses: Assuming Leadership and Accountability for Preventing and Reducing Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers
Christine Baker, MSN, RN, CWOCN, APN; Marianne Banas MSN, RN; Jinky Barredo-Velasco RN; Cristine Battung, RN; Shonda Clark, RN; Brenetta Ireland, RN; Estrella Nigos, RN; Jenny Sala, RN; Kim Wiltjer, RN
See the November 18 issue of Newsfront for extended coverage of this award-winning project.

Three teams received honorable mentions:

IBCD: Development and Testing of a Checklist to Improve Quality of Care for Hospitalized General Medical Patients

Clostridium difficile Quality Improvement Collaborative – University of Chicago Medical Center

Preventing Falls Among Adult Oncology Patients:  Engaging Patients and Families in Fall Prevention

Reducing Radiation Exposure

Left to right: Laura Kneale, MS, CPHIMS, quality consultant for The Center for Quality at the Medical Center, learns about a radiology project from G. Scott Stacy, MD, associate professor of radiology and section chief of musculoskeletal radiology. In “Reducing Radiation Exposure,” medical staff found a way to use nearly 10 times less radiation than in the previous year during CT-guided musculoskeletal interventional procedures while maintaining or even increasing the procedure’s success rate.

Let's Chat

Left to right: Ralanda Harvey, RN, and Gwen Schoenfeld, RN, with their winning poster for “Let’s CHAT.” The project invited inpatients to tell nurses what information they would like to see written on their whiteboards, such as the medications they are taking.

Pressure Ulcers

Left to right: Bruce Minsky; MD, chief quality officer; Christine Baker RN, MSN, CWOCN, CNS, clinical specialist in professional development; and Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and Pritzker School of Medicine and executive vice president for medical affairs at the University of Chicago. Baker and the ICU Skin and Wound Care Team spearheaded a pilot project that trained a group of direct care nurses to serve as expert role models in monitoring and treating hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.