Health professionals gather to discuss ways to improve patient safety, treatment effectiveness

SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 26, 2013) — A meeting today and Friday of health care professionals and students from across The University of Texas System will focus on ways to improve safety and treatment quality for patients.

Hundreds are expected to attend the fifth annual UT System Clinical Safety and Effectiveness Conference, “Building the Bridge: Public Policy and Public Health Effect Health Care Reform,” to be held at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio. A full conference agenda is available here.

The conference was organized by Jan Patterson, M.D., M.S., who serves as the UT System Executive Vice Chancellor’s Health Fellow for Clinical Effectiveness, in cooperation with the UT Clinical Safety & Effectiveness (CS&E) Steering Committee.

Dr. Patterson has led a clinical safety and effectiveness course for faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio since 2008. A total of 183 faculty and staff completing 90 quality improvement projects have graduated from the course since its creation.

“We are building a critical mass of faculty members that are able to use quality improvement tools,” said Dr. Patterson, a professor of medicine specializing in infectious diseases in the School of Medicine of the Health Science Center.

The conference is designed, in part, to share results of quality improvement projects from the Health Science Center’s clinical safety and effectiveness students, as well as those from the other UT System health institutions.

Thirty clinicians took the most recent clinical safety and effectiveness course at the Health Science Center. Over a five- to six-month period, they identified aspects of clinical care they would like to improve, collected data, designed an intervention and followed up on progress.

Projects to be highlighted at the conference include:

• An effort to prevent infections by multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) by improving environmental cleanliness. The intervention was tested in two wards, one surgical and one medical. An environmental cleanliness checklist was used over a three-month period. By the end, the rate of rooms ready for occupancy based on proper cleaning by visual inspection had tripled (2:15 p.m. today).

• A project that sought to increase efficiency at the UT Medicine San Antonio Pain Clinic. A pilot intervention conducted over six weeks introduced a revised intake form, a second vital signs station and walkie-talkies used to communicate room readiness and availability of patients and health care providers. As a result, wait times were reduced significantly (9:45 a.m. Friday).

• A project that attempted to decrease colorectal surgery infections through a multidisciplinary approach. A group of physicians, nurses and pharmacists reviewed care before, during and after surgery and instituted evidence-based interventions, such as prophylactic antibiotics, glucose control and preoperative bath and skin preparation. Their efforts cut the rate of surgical infections in half over three and a half years (11 a.m. Friday)

The conference also will feature three keynote speakers: Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D., director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Effectiveness & Safety Research; Stephen Shortell, Ph.D., dean of the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley; and Richard Shannon, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Department of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems.


The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health funding. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 29,000 graduates. The $736 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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