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How to cut costs in the cath lab

A cardiac cath lab operations improvement project undertaken by University Medical Center (Lubbock, TX) was successful in decreasing labor cost by 23 percent, representing an annual savings of about $250,000.  The centerpiece of the effort was careful delineation of start time, prime time, and the criteria to classify emergency cases; as well as reassignment of block time for the cardiologists.  The result was a dramatic (75%) decrease in the number of elective cases done outside of ‘prime time.’ 

Why I like this article:  I love case study articles about operations improvement projects, especially those that describe how the hospital attacked the problem.  Even better when there are great results!

Source: Swaminath, D., and Kumar, A.  Effective ways to decrease costs of labor in a cardiac catheterization lab.  PEJ. The Physician Executive;37(4):54-57, July/August 2011.   Click here for the full text: http://net.acpe.org/MembersOnly/pejournal/2011/JulyAugust/Swaminath.pdf  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

Best practices for decreasing incidence of pressure ulcers

 Allina Hospitals & Clinics (MN) involved all 10 system hospitals in a pressure ulcer initiative beginning in 2008.  Components of the initiative, as described (Sendelbach, et al., 2011) include standardized surveillance and reporting, standardized education, point-of-care resources, nutritional intervention, EHR documentation, and a provider awareness campaign.  The article includes Allina’s Pressure Ulcer Prevention Algorithm.  This initiative was successful in reducing pressure ulcers — with a potential cost savings systemwide of as much as $430,000.   Another case study, featuring Buena Vista Regional Medical Center (Storm Lake, IA), has been published by the Health Research & Educational Trust (2010).  After implementing the pressure ulcer prevention bundle from the Institute for Health Improvement (2008), Buena Vista was able to cut the pressure ulcer incidence rate. 


Health Research & Educational Trust.  Decreasing pressure ulcers through skin care.  Chicago: Health Research & Educational Trust, 2010. 

Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  Getting Started Kit: Preventing Pressure Ulcers, How-To GuideCambridge, MA: IHI, 2008. 

Sendelbach, S., Zink, M., and Peterson, J.  Decreasing pressure ulcers across a healthcare systemJONA. The Journal of Nursing Administration;41(2):84-89, Feb. 2011.