April 28, 2022 — To continue to support outcomes-driven practices, faculty representatives from several UF College of Medicine departments have attended Intermountain Healthcare’s renowned training program in quality, safety and health care delivery. The faculty are leveraging their skills to execute quality and patient safety initiatives within their home departments to increase high-value, patient-centered care.
The training program is part of the value pillar of the College of Medicine’s strategic plan announced by Dean Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., in December. To date, 10 faculty have completed the executive training. Five faculty will join the fall cohort and another four faculty members will attend the Harvard Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership Certificate Program, which will launch in May.
Nila Radhakrishnan, M.D., an associate professor, chief of hospital medicine and a physician director of quality, and Philip Efron, M.D., a professor of surgery and the medical director for UF Health Shands Hospital’s surgical intensive care units, have both completed Intermountain Healthcare’s Advanced Training Program.
The experience was well worth it, they said, for the experiential learning and access to feedback from mentors and peers on their quality improvement projects for UF Health.
“It was phenomenal,” Radhakrishnan said. “A lot of us have good ideas about how to make change toward improvement and how to implement high-value care. It was really nice to have the formal framework and concept and science behind how you actually do that.”
“This is a very helpful tool,” Efron added. “Embrace it if offered.”
Since completing the course, the two doctors have been busy carrying out patient care quality programs in their respective departments. Radhakrishnan’s project focuses on streamlining care for ER patients with low-risk chest pain. So far, she said, the team has implemented three organizational changes to help patients who are not having a heart attack to be set up with outpatient care and to be seen by a cardiologist for testing without being admitted to the hospital. The next step, she said, is to continue with bigger changes that require more effort but continue to have positive effects.
Efron’s project tackles optimizing the process of ventilatory liberation, or taking someone off mechanical breathing support. By analyzing patient data and outcomes, he said, his team has identified ways to revamp the extubation protocol to simplify and shorten the process. Ultimately, they hope to create a positive ripple effect with benefits such as reducing the amount of sedation patients need, improving their ability to transfer out of the ICU and opening more room for other patients in need.
The projects both build on resources and guidance from the physicians’ Advanced Training Program courses and seek to form blueprints for future quality improvement work.
“It sounds like a really wonderful course,” said Katharina Busl, M.D., M.S., who is starting the Harvard Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership Certificate Program next month. Busl, an associate professor and division chief of neurocritical care in the department of neurology and medical director of the NeuroICU at UF Health Shands Hospital, has served as quality director of the neurology department for five years.
“I’m interested to learn more from a bigger system’s perspective and an institutional perspective how problems are being seen and addressed because it’s easy to get lost in the department’s day-to-day issues,” she said.
See a list of past and upcoming UF College of Medicine participants, like Busl, below.