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NEWS REPORT
 








 

No. 1 in Quality


The winning team that improved CT safety, from left, Carole Blakeley, Anya Bailis, Daniel Doyle and Colleen McCormick. (Not present: Nima Amin and Robin Brand)
On the morning of Sept. 4, a 53-year-old man we’ll call patient Jones was taken down to radiology for a CT scan—his third that week. Two days later, Jones, who had a number of ailments including congestive heart failure, developed a serious kidney impairment caused by the contrast media, or dye, used in the scan.

Contrast-induced nephropathy, or CIN, is a common problem among high-risk patients. Last fall, it was scrutinized by a team of medical residents, graduate nursing students and administrative fellows and residents.

This team and two others like it were part of Achieving Competency Today (ACT), a grant program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. ACT tests whether the learners in teaching hospitals—those on the front lines—can come together to advance quality and improve patient care.

Following a four-week, Web-based course, the teams sought low-effort, high-yield solutions to problems like CIN, patient misidentification and care coordination. They presented their projects to faculty and administrators in early December.

The nephropathy team recommended giving all high-risk patients a particular contrast agent and identifying them more effectively through new, required history fields in the radiology ordering system. The plan is safer for patients and could save the hospital more than $200,000.

The team was selected to compete against 11 other ACT participants, all top teaching hospitals. Chosen as a finalist, the Hopkins group made its presentation in Boston in May and won first place recognition.

The honor speaks to Johns Hopkins’ ongoing pursuit of quality improvement and patient safety, says ACT coordinator Renee Demski, director of quality improvement. “It shows that through teamwork we can bring about change and improve patient safety. This team’s project has the potential to make a huge impact.”

—Anne Bennett Swingle

 

 

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