The placard project at Spectrum Health Systems is a unique methodology developed by George Vallillee, manager of Radiology Information Solutions, to improve the fidelity of the patient experience during a planned downtime or system disruption. The project was proposed and initiated by Vallillee, and largely driven by teams whose input was mainly intellectual collateral, drawn from daily workflows, and drawn from the radiology system used throughout Spectrum. Since the rollout of the program, it has been tested and updated regularly to make further improvements in efficiency. Deemed a success by health system executives, the placard program has become a permanent part of Spectrum Health Systems communication plan.
"The new downtime placards provide the necessary radiology operations guidance for staff during a system disruption. Unexpected disruptions can be chaotic and the new placards provide a clear plan for staff to follow if an event occurs. The downtime placards allow the operations team to focus on operational issues and George’s team to focus on TIS recovery activities and not have to worry about operational aspects," says Larry Genzink, administrative director, Department of Radiology, Spectrum Health Hospitals and Medical Group.
"Our goal is to have 100% availability for all of our critical patient care systems," adds Kimberly Gordon, director, Information Services at Spectrum Health. "The greater success you achieve with that goal, the more imperative it is to have solid operational processes in place for infrequent disruptions. The placard system helps ensure the radiology department will have the least amount of disruption, which in return keeps our patients safe."
"The placard system is a great way of perfecting the recognition, escalation, and communication skills that are required to manage radiology system disruptions efficiently," states Bradford Betz, MD, medical director, Department of Radiology at Spectrum Health and partner, Advanced Radiology Services, PC. "All stakeholders would be able to access their own standard work during a downtime, which maximizes the delivery of radiology services during these uncommon events. Developing departmental standard work has given us the opportunity to proactively educate providers of the downstream clinical ramifications for each type of radiology downtime. As a result, if a downtime-event does occur, clinicians are already aware of what kind of patient data is not available to radiologists and are therefore more likely to make informed triage decisions about imaging."