An innovative project from the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes Jewish Hospital (BJH) won a 2022 QUEST (Quality, Excellence and Safety Team) Award, an accolade that recognizes contributions made to improve organization performance and quality of care through the use of process and outcome measures. The WashU Med and BJH team won the award for their submission, “Frozen Section Module Creation and Deployment Project.” The project focused on the development and implementation of a web-based frozen section module that could electronically transmit frozen section gross, microscopic images and diagnoses into the ORs.
The initiative started a few years ago as a conversation between Michael Isaacs, Director of Clinical Informatics and Business Development in the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine; Jon Ritter, MD, Professor of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine; and Joan Rossi, former Director of Laboratory Services at Barnes Jewish Hospital. The group took a trip to Yale to evaluate their Frozen/OR solution and realized their goal of replacing verbal communication with electronic communication could be accomplished at BJH. “After several months of collaboration with Cerner Copath and the evaluation of possible other solutions, we realized there was nothing on the market that could meet our needs. With insight from several people, we were able to leverage our own application developers and build this internally,” Isaacs said.
The project involved collaboration between several different teams across the university, including key members Shilah Parrish, HTL (ASCP), Assistant Director at BJH; April Madden, MLS (ASCP), MHA, DLMcm, Regional Laboratory Director at BJH; Greg Robbins, Application Developer Lead at Washington University School of Medicine; Michele Goad, MBA, Senior Planning Manager in the Department of Pathology & Immunology at Washington University School of Medicine; Joseph Gaut, MD, PhD, Professor and Division Chief of Anatomic and Molecular Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine; Mena Mansour, MD, Assistant Professor of Pathology & Immunology and Director of Frozen Section at Washington University School of Medicine; Emily Brophy, former Copath System Manager at Washington Univeristy School of Medicine; Jared Amman-Stewart, former Copath Application Manager at Washington University School of Medicine; and the AP Informatics team at Washington University School of Medicine.
The team identified potential risks and worked to mitigate them proactively improving patient safety and care. The frozen module has now been successfully implemented in all 5 BJH OR pods and is already making a significant impact. “By implementing this frozen module, we have helped enhance patient safety by reducing communication errors that currently exist due to misinterpretation of verbal orders and issues of timeliness in being able to give a rapid diagnosis,” Parrish said.