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Hospitalists Get Lessons in Quality Improvement Techniques


 

Tanya Boldenow, MD, a hospitalist at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., attended yesterday’s HM13 Quality Improvement pre-course because she had been inspired by SHM’s participation in the ABIM Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign that identifies common treatments worth questioning by physicians and patients.

“I feel that I got some quality training in residency and have some support for it at the hospital, but for taking that next step to actually implement a project, it was important for me to have additional training and tools,” Dr. Boldenow said. SHM’s five recommended treatments to question “were things that I had a sense we ought to be looking at,” she added, but they weren’t being actively pursued at her hospital.

The full-day pre-course offered a review of QI principles and techniques. Participants then planned how concepts could be applied to a project targeting one of the SHM recommendations.

Dr. Boldenow chose the practice of avoiding or removing unnecessary urinary catheters, with a focus on preventing catheter-related urinary tract infections. Her group discussed baseline data to collect and analyze, where and how to pilot an initiative in the hospital, how to mobilize electronic health records, and what might persuade other professionals to change their habits.“It’s important to keep our eyes on the prize,” noted faculty member Ian Jenkins, MD, a hospitalist at the University of California at San Diego. “What are we trying to reduce; catheters or catheter-related complications?”

Dr. Boldenow sent an email to her department head a month ago proposing such a project. “I got funding from the residency program to come to the pre-course,” she said, “with the idea that I’d go back and make a presentation to our core faculty—and initiate a quality project.”

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