By Crystal Hicks
Salem Township Hospital in Salem, IL is a 25 bed critical access hospital located in South Central Illinois and is part of the Stroke Team Network affiliated with St. Louis University Hospital. The hospital purchased and installed a new dual head injector system for the CT suite, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This purchase was made possible in part by the funds received from the AHRA & Toshiba Putting Patients First grant.
Being able to purchase the injector has allowed Salem Township Hospital to meet industry standards. The system we had prior to this was 10 year old technology. We have been able to decrease the amount of contrast used by 20% per patient in most exams. This helps reduce patient side effects such as contrast induced nephropathy (CIN), as well as reducing the hospital’s supply costs. The dual syringe system delivers part of one saline syringe first to open the veins, followed by the second syringe of contrast, and lastly the remaining amount of saline. This last delivery of saline flushes the kidneys immediately and helps to decrease the patient’s chance of CIN.
The hospital as a whole has now begun to use one type of IV sets that are power rated. This allows continuity of care from one department to another using the same tools no matter which department they are in. Practitioners are able to treat the patient with the same standard of care throughout the organization.
We have also been able to decrease our repeat rate on pulmonary embolism studies. Since we are injecting a test dose of saline first, we are able to utilize a higher flow rate when warranted. This has been a problem in the past since it takes precise timing, and if the timing was off, the study had to be repeated. The new injector allows better timing and more enhanced and detailed images for the radiologist.
We are planning on building upon the dual head injector system by adding a weight based dosing component. This will allow every patient’s exam to be tailored to the diagnosis and also to body weight. We are expecting another 5% reduction in contrast used per patient.
Salem Township Hospital is very grateful for the grant funds we received, and we feel we have invested the funding into a program that is always evolving. This program truly puts our patients first.
Applications for the 2015 Putting Patients First program are due October 13. Click here to apply.
Crystal Hicks is the director of radiology at Salem Township Hospital in Salem, IL. She can be reached at Chicks@sthcares.org.