Three teams of faculty and staff members, working through the Accelerating City of Hope Excellence (ACE) program, recently improved blood bank procedures, clinical research record organization and procedures related to bringing new employees into the organization.
Wade McNair and his colleagues demonstrate the complexities of getting new employees started at work. (Photo by p.cunningham)
They reported their outcomes on Dec. 9.
City of Hope patients sometimes require lifesaving blood transfusions. One ACE team, led by Shawn Le, senior media relations specialist in Communications, focused on decreasing the time required to prepare and deliver blood to patients in need.
When a clinic physician or nurse practitioner orders a blood transfusion for a patient, clinic staff members draw a blood sample to determine the patient’s blood type and other key factors. Staff members send the small tube of blood — called a “pink top” after the color of the tube’s rubber cap — to the blood bank in the Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center for analysis. Blood bank technicians process the pink top and test the blood sample within, entering patient and test information into the blood bank’s computer system. Blood bank staff members then send a unit of blood back to the clinic, where clinicians infuse it into the patient.
The team improved communication between clinics and the blood bank, created new methods for clinic and blood bank staff members to know which patients need blood the soonest and improved transport of patient samples between clinics and the blood bank. The results: Pink tops now arrive in the blood bank in less than half the time previously needed and the median time between a transfusion order and preparation of a unit of blood in the blood bank decreased by 30 minutes. The maximum time decreased by about 90 minutes.
Clinical research records
City of Hope currently stores records from clinical research studies forever due to an internal policy. As a result, a quarter century of records sat in boxes in a warehouse, exposed to water and other potential hazards. In addition, the boxes were poorly organized, and space in the warehouse recently ran out, leaving 35 boxes of records without a home.
An ACE team led by Alejandra Torres, study coordinator in Clinical Research Operations, sought to remedy the situation. The group found a larger, temporary space for the boxes, and they organized the boxes so they could access archived records quickly when necessary.
They also have begun exploring ways to convert the archives to a digital format and are developing new procedures to minimize paperwork for future studies. Because federal regulations do not require City of Hope to store the records forever, the team also has begun work to change City of Hope policy to match federal regulations, so they can dispose of older, unneeded records.
New hire procedures
Once a new employee formally agrees to join City of Hope, a cadre of staff members from different departments must perform specific tasks such as completing legally required paperwork, creating an identification badge and ensuring computers and other office equipment are ready.
The team, comprising representatives from several departments and led by members of the Human Resources Department, sought to simplify procedures to save time and money and to ensure new employees could begin their work without delay.
By consolidating many steps into one and eliminating unnecessary procedures, as well as improving interaction between human resources recruiters and hiring managers, the team decreased the number of required steps from as many as 90 to 13, saving more than 40 hours of labor.
The next ACE events are scheduled for Jan. 23 to 27.
For more information, employees may visit www.coh.org/ACE. Questions about ACE also may be addressed to Tricia Kassab, vice president of quality and patient safety, at email@example.com.
|Program gets a new name|
City of Hope’s Accelerating Care Excellence program launched two years ago to focus on improvements to patient care. Over the course of the program, its scope has expanded to include research, human resources, business support services and development. To reflect this growth, the program has changed its name to Accelerating City of Hope Excellence (ACE).