AHRA 2013: Patient Satisfaction vs. Quality in Bedside Imaging
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In the 1980s my spelling was marginal. Readers would need to look past it, focusing on the main point of my letters and papers. Sometimes it would lead to a mistake in understanding, but usually things were okay. One day the world changed. Spell checkers.
How often do we sacrifice quality for speed and convenience? When we take an X-ray the patient’s time, safety and comfort are along for the ride. Avoiding clinical errors and improving quality are critically important. Technology may be about to make things easier.
I’ll be giving a presentation a couple of weeks from now in Minneapolis, MN, at AHRA 2013 on the importance of bedside imaging and how we can get to the level of quality imaging that we should expect. When the patient is so compromised they cannot come to the X-ray room, we really need to take the x-ray room to them. Several technology advancements are getting us closer to just that. . These result in improvements and ensure that radiologists are equipped with the best capabilities available to provide the best care possible.
- In my CE presentation on Sunday afternoon I’ll be covering the challenges associated with bedside imaging. These could be driven by exposure, grid cut off, lost identification, positioning or other reasons. Most mistakes involve a return trip to the room, disturbing the patient or heaven forbid the OR again, and repeating the image. To manage these challenges, most folks focus on a few areas: : proper identification, infection control, and retained foreign body search in the OR to name a few.
- Patient identification is vital to preventing medical errors. DR allows verification of the image and patient at bedside, scanning wristbands to ID images can take this one step further. Mixing up paper requisitions between exposing and processing CR cassettes is eliminated. . Infection control and patient satisfaction don’t always go hand in hand. What is sterile is sometimes a bit cold and unfriendly. But a plastic bag and rubber gloves is preferred to a staph infection. I’ll have a few suggestions from other Radiographers for how to boost comfort.
- It is important to use a grid often for improving the image quality so that radiologists won’t need to rely on repeat images. The capability exists from multiple sources to make grid alignment easier. Along with grid alignment, it’s important that departments track exposure to prevent “dose creep”. To realize the improvements productivity, thoughtful implementation and the organized tracking of metrics are needed so operational improvements can be made. Patients can recognize discomfort when it comes to capturing another image, but what they can’t tell is if they have been overexposed. This must be managed to follow through on our mission to achieving both optimal patient care and patient satisfaction.
If you’re interested in attending this presentation to learn more, I will be speaking on Sunday, July 28, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Looking forward to seeing you there and to another great year at AHRA.