News | January 17, 2011

Grants Awarded for 'Putting Patients First' Program

January 17, 2011 – Six winners have been selected to receive grants for their programs focused on patient care and safety in pediatric and adult imaging. They are: Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, Ga.; Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Omaha, Neb.; St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Paterson, N.J.; Medical Center of the Rockies, Loveland, Colo.; Sublette County Rural Health Care District: Pinedale and Marbleton Medical Clinics, Pinedale, Wyo., and Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Bellevue, Wash.

The grant winners were announced by AHRA, the Association for Medical Imaging Management, and Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc. This is the third annual Putting Patients First grant program, designed to help healthcare facilities improve patient care and safety in diagnostic imaging by funding programs, trainings and seminars in the areas of computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR), ultrasound, X-ray and vascular.

Three grants were awarded for projects that improve the safety and comfort of pediatric imaging, and the other three grants were awarded for projects that improve overall patient care and safety in imaging. Recipients were selected by the AHRA selection committee to receive up to a $7,500 grant to help fund their patient care and safety programs. Beyond receiving funds, the grant recipients will also publish an article in an AHRA publication about their innovative programs and create best-practice tools that can be adapted by other hospitals. The Putting Patients First program is funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Toshiba America Medical Systems, Inc.

The programs awarded the grants include the following:

• Northeast Georgia Medical Center will help improve patient care and safety in diagnostic imaging by creating a wallet-sized CT imaging record that patients can carry with them, indicating whether or not a CT scan has been performed. The card will include the date and facility name where the imaging procedure took place. Having this information on hand will inform the referring or ED physician of the patients’ imaging exam history with the goal of helping to reduce the number of duplicate CT scans ordered and thus the amount of radiation a patient receives.

• Further enhancing its welcoming atmosphere in the radiology clinic, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center plans on extending its child-friendly decor onto their MRI machines. It has experienced success with its unique underwater-themed environment, which includes wall art, a fish tank and fish hanging from the ceiling. It will implement the decor onto the machines themselves to increase comfort for children and their families, which could help them decrease the need for sedation, acquire quicker exam results and improve diagnoses and treatment.

• Also striving to make the imaging process less stressful for pediatric patients, St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center plans to develop six informational segments to educate pediatric patients, parents, colleagues and technologists on what is involved in MRI and X-ray imaging. The objective for this program is to create a safer imaging environment for pediatric patients by obtaining optimal imaging exams on the first attempt.

• Medical Center of the Rockies will create a hypnosis program aimed at decreasing the need to sedate patients. It will develop training that demonstrates how hypnosis improves patient care and safety by reducing sedation during MRI exams, improving communication, comfort and the overall clinical experience.

• Increased radiation exposure or delay in diagnosis are two serious consequences when a patient moves during the imaging process of CT or X-ray exams. In order to improve pediatric patient outcomes during these imaging procedures, the Radiology Department of the Sublette County Rural Health Care District (SCRHCD) will create a program called SMILE. The SMILE program will include six components: a children’s book, an accompanying adult pamphlet, a mobile protective screen, an infant and child “hugger” for CT scans and X-rays, a pediatric positioning kit and a smiley face sticker. Taken together, these components will help patients to understand CT and X-ray so that optimal exams can be achieved.

• To increase patient safety and improve patient awareness about radiation exposure in medical imaging procedures, Overlake Hospital Medical Center will implement the TRACE program to research industry benchmarks for safe and effective radiation dose, conduct accurate dose monitoring and recording on all radiation-producing equipment, and produce marketing materials to educate current and prospective patients about the risks associated with radiation exposure.

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