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Fellowship Projects

Projects are a key component of many of Health Careers Futures' Fellowships. The following list allows you to access abstracts of the projects by the ACLA Fellowship and Patient Safety Fellowship participants.

Consumer Health Information Fellowship


Patient Safety Fellowship


Consumer Health Information Fellowship

The 2009 initiative established a relationship between the public library and health care industry to better serve the needs of the community in providing accurate health related information. The Fellows were exposed to experts in health care, toured health science libraries, and participated in didactic and interactive modules on health related topics. This forum allowed participants to share personal experiences, utilize healthcare professionals' expertise, and collaborate with health science librarians. Twelve hours of Medical Library Association (MLA) for consumer health information specialization (CHIS) on-line continuing education was a part of the curriculum. The librarians discovered new sources of reliable information about healthcare providers, health conditions and healthcare quality.

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Consumer Health Resouces in Allegheny County
An electronic health information repository was created by the Fellows to direct patrons to information on local health support groups and agencies available to the public within Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The blog provides a portal of local health resources as well as links to national resources for consumers. There are four designated editors who maintain the site, and for consumers to direct inquiries or issues regarding the information found there.

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MedlinePlus
MedlinePlus® is a preeminent Internet resource produced and updated daily by the National Library of Medicine for consumer health information that explores over 800 health topics on conditions, diseases, and wellness. The Fellows developed a script for librarians to use to teach the public about MedlinePlus® in both Microsoft Word and PDF formats. A PowerPoint presentation was also created for librarians to use to teach the public about MedlinePlus.

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Recommendations for Producing Consumer Health Information in Public Libraries
The Fellows created a standardized process for library staff to follow in providing information in response to a patron’s health-related question. The ‘Front Desk Consumer Health Reference Form’ was a result of this work. All staff can utilize this tool to make a referral to a reference librarian. Considerations for patron privacy, ethical guidelines and accessing information are part of the recommendations.

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Patient Safety

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation and Health Careers Futures, through the Patient Safety Fellowship, attempt to enhance and provide a new perspective to health care and health-related problems by providing leadership, awareness and guidance into the study of these problems. Participants in the Fellowship are challenged to become Patient Safety Champions through instruction in Perfecting Patient CareSM (PPC) values, principles and tools. This final project offers an opportunity to practice using this process improvement methodology in "real-time" at the point of care with the intent of further enhancing the teachings of the Fellowship.

The Fellowship participants were divided into teams of multidisciplinary composition. Each team was paired with a healthcare "client" who had pre-selected an improvement opportunity within his/her organization. The team was charged with implementing the actions and processes of PPC-based problem solving for the pre-selected opportunity. The teams defined the Business Case, studied the Current Condition through on-site observations of the process in action, collected and analyzed data, and brainstormed ideas for improvement.

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Electronic Health Survey Devices (2009)
Generational differences in health care can affect caregiver and patient interactions as well as the use of electronic devices which are becoming more prevalent in the healthcare environment. This team was asked to study elderly patients’ interactions with technology and younger caregivers in a primary practice setting. The on-site observations revealed that a number of elderly patients were not using the electronic device which was intended to accurately capture and transmit healthcare information to promote patient safety. The team brainstormed possible causes of the non-use and generated a Cause and Effect (Fishbone) diagram. With this information the team was able to propose countermeasures to address the problem.

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Healthcare Literacy for Linguistic Minorities (2009)
The United States is an ethnically diverse nation with a growing non-English speaking population. Communication with patients is a critical element of patient safety and quality of care, and becomes even more critical when differences in primary language exist. Non-English speaking patients account for 22% of a local federally qualified health center’s patient population. This center asked the team of Fellows to study the current process of patient education for non-English speaking patients and to identify areas where language and cultural barriers could interfere with providing optimal care. After conducting multiple on-site observations at the clinic, the team identified multiple opportunities for improvement. They proposed countermeasures which included use of standardization and visual management.

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Reporting of Critical Lab Values (2009)
This project involved studying the process of reporting, documenting and responding to critical laboratory values. Critical lab values influence the treatment plan of patients, therefore effective communication of these results is essential to produce the appropriate medical response. From their on-site observations, the team discovered much variation in the processes of specimen labeling and documenting reported critical lab values. Variation is the adversary of process improvement. After assessing the Current Condition, the team decided that standardizing the processes would reduce the likelihood of error and improve patient safety.

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Specimen Labeling (2009)
Laboratory tests are conducted on patient samples in order to obtain information about the health of a patient pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. Mislabeled or lost specimens pose significant patient safety concerns, as well as the associated discomfort to the patient of a re-collection. The team was asked to observe the current process of specimen collection, labeling and delivery in an attempt to identify potential sources of error. Direct observation of the process in action revealed a complex process with potentially unnecessary and confusing steps. The team proposed experimenting with a number of countermeasures to reduce the likelihood of error.

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Studying Patient Flow for Future Office Redesign (2009)
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) provide needed health care for uninsured and underserved populations. A local center is proactively planning for new space in order to optimize patient flow so that more time can be spent with patients and more patients can be seen each day. This team was charged with identifying waste within the current patient flow process and proposing ways to address these issues with a newly designed process. The team performed multiple on-site observations, collecting data at each step in a patient visit. A value quotient, the percentage of overall visit time considered valuable to the patient, was calculated. The value quotient demonstrated that almost half of a patient’s visit was occupied by waste, primarily waiting. The team suggested multiple ways to improve the flow and move the value quotient closer to 100%.

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All resources are in PDF format. To obtain hard copies, please contact us.

 
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