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UC Grant Helps Expand Bedside Ultrasound Training at UCLA

Date: 09/12/2013
Contact: Rachel Champeau ()
Phone: 310-794-2270
Elizabeth Turner, MD, MSElizabeth Turner, MD, MS

A successful training program in bedside ultrasound is expanding from UC Irvine to UCLA, thanks to a $250,000 University of California grant to improve patient care.

The two-year grant, "Impact on Quality and Safety of the Implementation of a Formal Curriculum for Bedside Ultrasound at UCLA," will be led by Dr. Elizabeth Turner, UCLA director of bedside ultrasound in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine.

The grant is the result of a new partnership between the UC Center for Health Quality and Innovation and UC's systemwide Office of Risk Services. The joint venture, called the Center for Health Quality and Innovation Quality Enterprise Risk Management, is part of an effort to improve patient care and satisfaction throughout UC Health.

"Bedside ultrasound monitoring rose to the top as a project that we would like to see expanded at UC medical centers," said Terry Leach, executive director of the innovation center. She noted that using portable ultrasound machines when placing central lines was listed by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality as one of 10 strongly encouraged patient safety practices. This diagnostic tool is becoming more prevalent in other areas of hospitals as well.

Bedside ultrasound involves portable ultrasound exams - which use sound waves to see inside the body - performed and interpreted by the physician at the time of an exam. It's a tool that can help quickly identify which medical test a patient should receive, and who should administer it.

Two years ago, Turner received a grant from the innovation center to develop a curriculum for bedside ultrasound training while she was working at UC Irvine. The curriculum helped critical care and cardiology fellows at UC Irvine gain knowledge and confidence equal or superior to that of experts and apprentice-based learners - in a shorter time than other training pathways.

The new grant will lead to implementing the bedside ultrasound training curriculum at several intensive care units at UCLA and will include assessment of the curriculum's impact on care quality and safety.

Turner will focus training on treatment of circulatory shock, a condition that occurs as a result of inadequate blood flow to vital organs - a common issue in critically ill patients, and one that can be readily detected by ultrasound during an exam.

"Studies have shown that this diagnostic tool can improve the quality of patient care," Turner said. "You can get the right therapy to the patient earlier, make better therapeutic decisions and improve the outcomes. There are direct and indirect cost savings, and patient satisfaction also may improve if we implement this as part of our practice."

About UC Health
University of California Health includes five academic health centers - UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC San Francisco - with 10 hospitals and 17 health professional schools on seven UC campuses.

About the UC Center for Health Quality and Innovation
UC Health launched the Center for Health Quality and Innovation in October 2010. The center is designed to promote, support and nurture innovations at UC medical center campuses and hospitals to improve quality, access and value in the delivery of health care.

About the UCLA Health System
The UCLA Health System has for more than half a century provided the best in health care and the latest in medical technology to the people of Los Angeles and the world. Comprising Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center; UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA; Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA; and the UCLA Medical Group, UCLA Health, with its wide-reaching system of primary care and specialty care offices throughout the region, is among the most comprehensive and advanced health care systems in the world.