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Memorial Cancer Institute to Demonstrate Highly Reliable, Highly Efficient Culture at ASTRO Conference

Collierville, Tennessee (PRWEB) September 22, 2013

The Memorial Cancer Institute will demonstrate their high-reliability and high-efficiency culture at the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in Atlanta. LifeWings Partners, LLC, a consulting group experienced in helping hospitals implement crew resource management (CRM), assisted Memorial in its culture change efforts focused on patient safety.

Medical Director Dr. Srinath Sundararaman explained that over recent years, increasingly more powerful equipment has allowed radiation oncologists to treat more complex cases than in the past. The downside of these high-energy advances, which has received national attention, is the potential for significant adverse outcomes. “We wanted to place an emphasis on highly structured practices that would assure patient safety. We wanted to adopt safety practices that would be highly standardized and so ingrained that it became our culture – how we live and breathe at Memorial.”

CRM emphasizes teamwork and communication, cross-checking, and routinizing specific protocols. The combination of increased communication and the routinizing of procedures so that it is done in the same way each time has allowed staff to comfortably practice on either of their two campuses. This flexibility has allowed Memorial to see more patients and offer more procedures per day while staffing levels have remained flat.

Norali Diaz, RTT emphasizes the importance of the consistent use of their standardized guidelines. “We have a cross-check system that puts both therapists on the same page, even if they haven’t treated this patient before. Because our procedures emphasize consistency, even if we have a floating therapist or nurse working with us, we can work together in the same way no matter which patient we are treating or which procedure we are performing. This focuses on patient safety of every team member’s responsibility, every shift, every day.”

Director of Physician Practices Vedner Guerrier, RTT, BS concurs. “We’ve trained some relatively recently-graduated RTTs who work with us occasionally in CRM practices. They love the structure, consistency and sense of teamwork we’ve developed at Memorial, which they tell us is not present in other settings.”

“Accompanying the Memorial Cancer Institute team on their CRM journey has been a privilege,” notes Richard Doss of LifeWings. “While CRM practices may take staff a little more time initially, Memorial has demonstrated efficiencies which have allowed them to handle increased patient volume with their existing staff complement.”

Watch a video interview with Memorial staff:

About LifeWings:

LifeWings Partners, LLC has improved the performance of over 140 hospitals worldwide, creating documented, sustainable improvements in efficiency, reliability, safety, and quality. Visit or or follow on Twitter @LifeWingsLLC.

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