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    Dr. Carla Harmath

    Radiology Leading the Way to RE-OPENING at the University Of Chicago A Review with Dr. Carla Harmath, Chief of Abdominal Imaging

    Global Impact: Rebecca Rock, RN and SABM CFO talks with HPI about two roles across two countries

    From Lab Trend Visionary to Dark Group CEO: HPI connects with the Founder and Editor of the Dark Report, Robert Michel

    Two Imaging Leaders, Two Systems, One Outcome: Communication

    From Communication Strength to Just in Time Reopening at MGH A conversation with Dr. James Brink, Chief of Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital

    From Time Magazine to PBM Influencer: Sherri Ozawa's Mission to Define the Value of Blood

    Buried Blessings: Pandemic perspective from Tom Strauss, CEO at Sisters of Charity Health System

    Katie Castree, Career Healthcare Process Improvement Connoisseur

    Solving Lab Challenges through Recruiting Innovation: HPI connects with Lighthouse Lab Services President, Jon Harol

    Providing Value-Based Care in a Pandemic through Telehealth and Data Resources: An HPI exclusive with Dr. Darrel Weaver

    From Supply Chain Crisis to Innovation in a Pandemic

    From Navy Medic to running a Clinical Laboratory . . . during a pandemic

    Planning for Blood Shortages in a Pandemic with Dr. Claudia Cohn

    Blood Banking is more complex today than ever before. Rob Van Tuyle, President of Vitalant's Blood Division, tells us why.

    Profoundly Impacting Healthcare with Breakthrough Anemia Management

    Supporting Imaging Precisely Where You Need It

    Working Together Makes End of Life Conversations Easier to Have

    The Future of Imaging: Assessing the early impacts of COVID-19 and the path to innovation through Artificial Intelligence (AI) A conversation with Dr. Geoff Rubin

    Pivoting in a Pandemic: How a U.S. 3D printing manufacturer is helping healthcare in its time of need

    Mara G. Aspinall: Diagnostic evangelist educating the world on the power of diagnostics today

    How The Joint Commission is addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic

    CHI Nebraska’s Laboratory Director Connie Wilkins, describes How To Manage a Clinical Laboratory During the pandemic

    Former Commercial Lab Leader Highlights the Hospital Lab as the Solution to Community Sustainability in a Healthcare Crisis

    Three Phases Essential to Crisis Preparedness in Patient Blood Management with Anne Burkey of St. Luke's Health in Boise, ID

    The Importance of Agility in Your Lab

    Dr. Paul Biddinger Shares Three Ways to Prepare for COVID-19

    Bringing Clinical Skills to Operational Leadership During a Time of Crisis; Dr. Blanton, Chief Medical Officer at Peterson Health

    7 Team Attributes to Teams that Work in Challenging Times & Through Rapid Innovation

    From Finding Problems to Saving Lives: The Evolution of Interventional Radiology

    Identifying the Potential with AI in Radiology with Dr. Chung

    Communication in the C-Suite with Cliff Robertson of Catholic Health Initiatives

    Reviewing Your Patient Financial Journey with Melody W. Mulaik, President of Revenue Cycle Coding Strategies

    Ask An Accumen Expert: Carolyn Burns, MD, a Patient Blood Management Advocate

    Linda DeVee, Leads Radiology Services at Edward-Elmhurst Health

    Theresa Mouton, Market Chief Financial Officer with Steward Health

    PELITAS President and CEO Steven Huddleston Wants Patients to Have a Great Experience – Both Clinically and Financially

    How Do You Deal with 2 Billion Forms a Year? Ask Randy Campbell

    Medical Director of Telehealth for UAB Knocks Barriers Down to Treat Patients on Their Terms

    C-Suite Spotlight: Wayne Bohenek Chief Ancillary Services Officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health

    A Leader in the Laboratory Service Line : Pierre Mouawad

    Healthcare Partner: Autumn Farmer, Chief Laboratory Officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health

    How Imbio is using AI to close the gap of missed diagnosis with Mike Hostetler

    Spit Matters with Bill Phillips from Spectrum Solutions

    How COVID-19 inspired TeraRecon to accelerate their imaging solutions to the point of care with Jeff Sorensen

    A Review with Dr. Carla Harmath, Chief of Abdominal Imaging

    Dr. Carla Harmath oversees the quality of work, as well as the operations and logistics, in all abdominal imaging and procedures performed. She believes that her ancillary staff, especially the radiology technologists, are the greatest assets of the hospital. Her job is to make sure that her staff is protected, and patients taken care of. Enter the pandemic, where safety became a life or death concern in a department that typically operates in a low risk environment.

    Radiology was the first to ramp up at the University of Chicago because there is no safer option for radiology. Clinicians can do some virtual visits, but radiology requires patients onsite to have their MRI, CT exams or ultrasound scans. We had to act – we have several patients in clinical trials for cancer and they cannot wait to have their follow-up imaging exams as they need to adapt treatment. We also did not patients that were sick waiting for care. Our patients needed us to do something.

    Step-by-Step

    Dr. Harmath walks us through the critical areas of focus she set in motion for her team and department as they reopened radiology services at the University of Chicago.

    • Visitor Policy: Only patients with a caregiver were allowed entry. Policies excluding outside vendors like drug reps remain in place.
    • Reconfigure the physical space: Radiology cannot be performed remotely. Patients must come into the department to have their exams done. We had to rearrange the registration desks and waiting area furniture to assure social distancing. We placed chairs at least six feet apart from each other. The floors were also marked for social distancing and we restricted the elevator’s capacity to a maximum of four people. We moved removed any reading material from the waiting areas to avoid people touching the same things over and over. We minimized patients filling out forms and sharing pens by adopting verbal consent remote check-in questionnaires and recommendations for pre or post exam. And we placed barriers between reception and patients for necessary contact.
    • Cleaning: Increased frequency of cleaning waiting areas. While healthcare facility cleaning happens at a more frequent rate to begin with, we’ve increased this in response to the pandemic. We installed touchless sanitizing stations throughout the hospital and will be adding self-cleaning surfaces, air conditioning reversal, and increased review of environmental service devices.
    • Patient Entry: Every patient or visitor is greeted at the entrance by hospital personnel with a questionnaire. Individuals must attest that they do not have any symptoms (fever, cough, runny nose) prior to entry and submit to a temperatures check. If they have a fever, we reschedule testing as well as evaluate potential treatment for anyone that interacted with that individual.
    • Staff Entry: Every time staff enters the hospital, they must also attest to not having any symptoms. We indicate this by tapping our badges at the entry side. We have to hand sanitize and have our temperature checked every time we come in it, even if it just did.
    • Universal Masking: No one is allowed in without a mask. Staff, patients, and visitors alike.
    • Telehealth: Do everything you can to minimize the patient’s time in the hospital. Have them arrive at the exact time of their appointment. If there any option for remote exams or follow-up, do it.
    • High Risk Groups: Have specific plans for these groups, including staff members. We gave these patients the choice of not coming in for their exam if they did not feel comfortable, but we took time to explain that we took all the safety measurements within the recommended guidelines.
    • Asymptomatic Patients: Prevent this group from undergoing more invasive radiology procedures to avoid exposing others. Interventional radiology as an example performs a list of higher risk procedures that are aerosolizing (i.e. patients can cough and cannot wear a mask during the procedure). Patients must be tested for COVID prior to these procedures and, even with a negative result, should keep themselves in isolation from the time of scheduling to the time of the exam. All staff involved in performing these procedures must wear protective equipment at all times.
    • Infected Patients: Keep COVID patients in a separate unit. Our nurses on these floors have been instrumental in performing portable exams where possible. We have had no adverse events with this safety measurement in place.
    • Communicate facts and data: Keep staff updated often. Leadership at the University of Chicago has done a fantastic job updating us through frequent emails with guidelines, capacity data such as how many patients have be onsite, how many have COVID, and how many patients are under investigation as well as our remaining ventilator inventory. We are always aware of how the hospital is doing relative to patient safety.

    Dr. Harmath notes that they are constantly working to ensure the hospital is safer than ever. It is nonstop work. We have dealt with highly contagious diseases before, and we all know that we must wash our hands, wear protective gear, and decrease the number of non-essential personnel in house. We have to adapt, including the way we teach residents.

    Learning in Crisis

    As the University of Chicago reopened, patients were concerned about coming to the hospital and radiology schedules specifically were not full. As they were able to demonstrate safety in the approach, patients returning increased to a point where they had to extend the hours of operation to accommodate everyone. While they had a plan for no shows, surprisingly it wasn’t needed. And the quest to continue learning, and improving, continues as a professor of radiology and world-renowned pioneer in computer aided diagnosis at the University of Chicago recently received a grant to create a method in medical imaging to help better understand, diagnose, and treat COVID-19. The work is supported by a large contract under the National Health Institute, and the nation’s largest medical imaging associations, to develop a medical imaging data resource center.

    Most of us know, especially radiologists, that medical imaging provides important information to help detect, diagnose, and mind for diseases. This is the same case with COVID-19. We have learned that test images can help clinicians determine the severity of the infection and an optimal treatment course. This new resource center will collect x-rays and CT scans from thousands of patients, over an open source database, allowing researchers worldwide to access information for COVID-19 research.

    Today’s unfortunate and unprecedented situation allows us to continue to deepen our knowledge on how to operate safely, serving our community and patients without significant disruption in their care.

    Preach.

     
    Dr. Carla Harmath

    Dr. Carla Harmath

    Chief of Abdominal Imaging, University of Chicago