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ECRI Institute and Health Care Improvement Foundation Launch CT Radiation Safety Collaborative
Date:6/29/2011

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., June 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, and the Health Care Improvement Foundation, an independent nonprofit corporation with a multi-dimensional focus on healthcare safety, announce the launch of a new Partnership for Patient Care regional collaborative focused on improving CT radiation safety. Jointly funded by area hospitals and Independence Blue Cross, this collaborative will engage hospitals and imaging centers in Philadelphia and surrounding counties in a 12-month project aimed at strengthening patient safety specific to CT imaging.

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"The overall goal of this program is for 100% of the participants to be actively monitoring recorded CT radiation doses in order to deliver doses that are as low as reasonably achievable," said Kathy Shostek, senior risk management analyst, ECRI Institute, and the program's manager.

CT radiation dose can result in unnecessarily high exposures, placing patients at increased risk of cancer and other conditions. Inappropriate radiation doses nationally have raised public concerns and attracted attention in the media recently. Specific strategies for this program will focus on addressing factors related to inappropriate or excessive radiation doses and implementing practices that optimize CT studies.

The Partnership for Patient Care (PPC) is a multi-year patient safety collaborative among the Health Care Improvement Foundation, Independence Blue Cross, and healthcare organizations across Southeastern Pennsylvania. The PPC's objective is to accelerate the effective adoption of evidence-based clinical practices by pooling the resources, knowledge, and efforts of providers and other stakeholders.

"Independence Blue Cross is proud to support the Partnership for Patient Care. Its innovative projects have directly led to improved care for thousands of people across our region, such as fewer hospital-acquired infections," said Vic Caraballo, senior medical director at Independence Blue Cross. "We enthusiastically support this latest initiative to improve CT radiation safety, and believe there is tremendous potential to greatly reduce the number of people who receive harmful or unnecessary doses of radiation."

Kate Flynn, President of the Health Care Improvement Foundation, commented, "For more than five years, hospitals and other healthcare providers have shown that by leveraging their work together, they can make greater strides in quality and safety improvement. Addressing the safety of CT imaging is one more example of our commitment to make southeastern Pennsylvania the safest place in the nation to receive healthcare."

The initiative was announced on June 7, 2011, at a kick-off conference held at ECRI Institute. Nearly 100 healthcare administrators and radiology professionals from more than 30 area hospitals attended the program. Keynote presenter, William Hendee, Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, and ECRI Institute medical physicists, Jason Launders, MSc, and Rohit Inamdar, MSc, provided background on safety issues and identified strategies to protect patients from radiation overexposure.

"CT provides precise images and tremendous benefits to patients. But, neglecting the radiation dose will, without a doubt, lead to unnecessary and unwanted consequences," advised Launders, Senior Project Officer, ECRI Institute, and nationally-recognized speaker on imaging safety.

Participating facilities will take a confidential patient safety survey to assess CT scanning services at the start of the program as a baseline and again at the end to assess improvement. The program includes reporting of CT radiation dose data, ongoing educational seminars, assistance in implementing action goals, and participation in a collaborative website. ECRI Institute's interdisciplinary staff will be actively involved with the program.

"Diagnostic CT scans are a very important diagnostic tool that benefits millions of patients. When conducted properly, no CT scans should approach doses high enough for patients to lose their hair and have skin burns," noted Inamdar, Senior Associate, ECRI Institute.

For more information or to sign up for the Partnership for Patient Care CT Radiation Safety collaborative, contact Kathy Shostek by telephone(610) 825-6000, ext. 5703, by e-mail at kshostek@ecri.org; or by mail at ECRI Institute, 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, USA.

ECRI Institute (www.ecri.org), a nonprofit organization, brings the discipline of applied scientific research to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes are best, all to enable healthcare organizations to improve patient care. As pioneers in this science, they pride themselves in having the unique ability to marry practical experience and uncompromising independence with the thoroughness and objectivity of evidence-based research. ECRI Institute is designated as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Patient Safety, Risk Management, and Healthcare Technology and an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO, listed as a federally certified Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, strives to achieve the highest levels of safety and quality in healthcare by collecting and analyzing patient safety information and sharing lessons learned and best practices. Find ECRI Institute on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ECRIInstitute) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/ECRI_Institute).

The Health Care Improvement Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit corporation that leads healthcare initiatives aimed at improving the safety, outcomes, and care experiences of all patients, residents and consumers across the five-county greater Philadelphia region. It is dedicated to the vision that, through an engaged, collaborative community, the region benefits from a high-performing healthcare delivery system demonstrating enhanced measures of safety, quality, and effectiveness.   The foundation engages multi-stakeholder resources to implement solutions that no market participant could achieve individually.

The Partnership for Patient Care (PPC) is a collaborative dedicated to the advancement of patient care by accelerating the adoption of evidence-based clinical practices. Funded by Independence Blue Cross and the region's health systems, the partnership achieves its goals by pooling the resources, knowledge, and efforts of local healthcare providers.

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.3 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality healthcare coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and healthcare professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.


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