How radiologists can lead the way in healthcare quality improvement

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 - Quality_Measures

When quality improvement efforts at the Baylor College of Medicine (BMC) stalled out in 2013 due to multiple staffing disruptions and a general lack of coordination, it was a radiologist who took the challenge head-on, according to Emily Sedgwick, MD, an assistant professor at BMC and author of a recent article published online April 20 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

“The faculty quality improvement committee had been reformed for a second attempt at success. The director of quality improvement had left, and the position had gone unfilled,” she wrote. “Quality improvement initiatives and training were uncoordinated and piecemeal, performed by providers in the many institutions in which BCM faculty members worked.”

That’s when a radiologist on the BCM quality improvement committee took the lead on a joint initiative with medical students from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School to host a conference designed to educate caregivers about healthcare quality improvement and local initiatives.

“The radiologist on the committee volunteered to lead the conference and was supported by the group,” wrote Sedgwick. “The committee recognized her leadership of a high-quality program in radiology, and nearly every member had worked with her in some way because of her role as a radiologist.”

The first conference in 2014 was well-received, drawing over 158 attendees, 95 percent of whom said the content was “very” or “mostly” relevant to their practices. Most reported they would recommend the program to colleagues, and two-month follow-up evaluations found that 65 percent of attendees had already utilized skills and information they learned at the conference.

Since then, the conference has continued on an annual basis, thanks in large part to the radiologist who answered the quality improvement call, which isn’t so surprising considering a radiologist’s skill set, according to Sedgwick.

“Radiologists are ideally suited to lead the cultural change from solo caregiver to a team-based approach to health care delivery,” she wrote. “A radiologist leading a quality improvement conference not only helps patients but emphasizes the value of the radiologist in the health care delivery team.”