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Communicating Critical Test Results

A Learning Collaborative on Safe Practice Recommendations
May 12, 2003
Westborough, MA

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors, together with the Massachusetts Hospital Association, is hosting two learning collaboratives on Safe Practices to Promote Patient Safety in the areas of Reconciling Medications and Communicating Critical Test Results. The Coalition, through consensus groups, has identified safety practices based on the literature and national models to address these clinical problems and reduce related errors. A two-year program including collaborative learning opportunities and other support to facilitate and promote safe practice implementation for the following two topic areas is underway.

The first learning collaborative to support hospital teams in the Communicating Critical Test Results initiative will be held May 12. The program objectives, audience, agenda, and registration materials are provided below.

Program Objectives:
This program is designed to engage teams from Massachusetts hospitals in improving patient safety by adopting a set of identified safe practices for communicating critical test results.

The program will cover the following topics:
  • Identification of a set of safe practices for communicating critical test results.
  • An overview of the Model for Improvement as it relates to this safe practice initiative.
  • Facilitated workshop sessions on:
    1. Identifying what tests require timely and reliable communication
      How to shorten the list, create a list for cardiology/radiology, set time frames for notification
    2. Improving internal communication systems
      How to implement a hospital fail-safe system, identify and use the most appropriate technology, establish a shared policy, build in reliability with acknowledgement
    3. Reaching a provider who can take action
      How to link the patient with a provider on admission, identify who is responsible when that provider is not available, centralize a call system
  • Organizational barriers to implementation, and how to overcome them.
Learner Objectives:

Participants will learn how to:
  • Develop an action plan for implementation at their institution with aims, measures, time frames and role responsibilities clearly defined.
  • Formulate ideas about implementation strategies for key components of this initiative.
  • Identify expected barriers to implementation and proposed strategies to overcome these barriers.
Who Should Attend:

Hospital implementation teams of 3-6 people from the following disciplines:
  1. Physician leader 5. Patient safety/QI representative
  2. Nursing leader 6. House officer representative
  3. Laboratory leader 7. Staff nurse/nurse educator
  4. Communications representative 8. Cardiology/Radiology representative

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