Four School of Public Health students were involved in a study aiming to document possible opportunities to improve efficiencies in the Loma Linda University Medical Center cardiovascular lab procedure rooms.
Within its four rooms adjacent to the surgical suite, both children and adults undergo diagnostic cardiac catheterization, interventional procedures, and electrophysiology procedures.
In addition to a modest financial incentive, the students gained an invaluable exposure to a critical component of the Loma Linda International Heart Institute, according to Jim Banta, PhD, MPH, faculty coordinator of the project, and an assistant professor in the department of health administration, School of Public Health.
"All students were able to directly observe both clinical professionalism and the management challenges of coordinating multiple physicians, staff, patients, and rooms,” says Dr. Banta. “Some of these students were able to later have more in-depth internship experiences within the cardiac services line after this particular short-term project ended."
Three health administration students participated—Josué Epane, I-Chen Lin, and Wood Utrapiromsuk—as well as one epidemiology student, Wen-Ling Liao.
They recorded observations regarding patient and procedure characteristics (including start and stop times) on a pre-defined datasheet. The study ran for seven weeks, beginning October 17 and ending December 15, 2006 (with no observation during Thanksgiving week).
During the 39 days of observation, there were two shifts—one from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and the other from noon to 4:30 p.m., usually with two students in the morning shift and one or two in the afternoon.
Students did not have patient contact, but they were able to enter the operating room and have limited conversations with staff. LLUMC senior administration officials later received detailed analyses for 304 observations, including average times for each type of procedure by physician.
Critical to the study’s success were Daniel Fontoura, MBA, senior vice president/administrator, University Hospital; Donna Bennett, MS, JD, executive/service line director, cardiac and vascular services; Harvey Glasgow, CRT, cardiovascular lab manager; and Dr. Banta.