• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

In the current atmosphere of closer scrutiny of healthcare practices and procedures, front-line managers and health care providers must investigate potential problems in their work environment, whether at the behest of upper management, in order to meet Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) standards, or through their own sense that “weÆre doing something wrong.” For the investigator with limited previous experience in evaluation or research, the prospect of undertaking this kind of investigation can appear daunting, to say the least. Quality Improvement Projects in Health Care was written just for this individual. Author Eleanor Gilpatrick, a seasoned investigator and professor of health services administration, provides a review of the basic terminology and guidelines for carrying out “nuts-and-bolts” quality improvement research. She then demonstrates how such a research project can be implemented through 14 case studies involving actual health care situations. Altogether, the cases speak to a broad array of issues and potential pitfalls for the unwary investigatorŭand they show that progress can be made in even the most difficult circumstances. Quality Improvement Projects in Health Care will be of interest to students and professionals in health sciences administration, nursing, allied health, and public health.

Late Notification of Critical Values by a Hospital Laboratory1
Case 3: Late notification of critical values by a hospital laboratory

When critical limits of specified test results are exceeded, medical laboratories are expected to provide immediate notification to the physicians responsible for the care of the patients. In this case, physicians may have been waiting too long for results.

Proving the Problem
The Problem, Importance, and the Client

Physicians in a voluntary hospital complained that the hematology laboratory was not providing them with timely notification by phone of first-time critical values. Critical values, also called panic values, are test results that vary from established norms to such an extent that they represent a life-threatening condition. Knowing the results at once allows the physician to react appropriately and rapidly.

Clara, who ...

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