Physician Engages Colleagues to Help Patients with Heart Valve Infection

Pictured from left: Kyle Ludwig, pharmacist; Jane Terhune, patient safety manager; Christina Danila, MD, assistant professor of cardiology; Archana Vasudevan, MD, infectious disease fellow; Hariharan Regunath, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine; Xingyi Que, MD, associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery; Ashraf Abou el ela, MD, assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery; and Takashi Murashita, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon.

A University of Missouri Health Care doctor analyzed the past to improve outcomes for patients in the future. 

Hariharan Regunath, MD, is a critical care and infectious disease specialist at MU Health Care who serves on a committee that reviews past patient cases to identify opportunities to improve.

During a chart review two years ago, Regunath discovered an area for improvement in treating patients with infective endocarditis, a heart valve infection usually caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream.

Based on his findings, Regunath began a study of all endocarditis patients at MU Health Care over the previous 12 months. He discovered some patients who qualified did not have surgery. To remedy that, he created a plan for doctors across different service lines who treat endocarditis patients to work together. Their collaboration ensures that the cardiovascular surgeon who needs to perform the procedure will get all the necessary information quickly.

“As soon as we identify an endocarditis patient, the infectious disease provider, cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeon will sit together and devise a plan,” Regunath said. “Infectious diseases and cardiology will do the ground work for our cardiothoracic surgeons and get the necessary evaluation done completely so that our cardiovascular surgeon gets what he needs to move forward with surgery.” 

The final step before implementing this multidisciplinary approach is to develop an electronic workflow with MU Health Care’s information technology team, with the goal to implement it by summer.

Regunath said his efforts to engage fellow physicians for the benefit of patients would not have been possible without help.

“Having a very supportive executive leadership that looks at a team leader and its members as true partners was the key,” he said. 

Results of this study were presented at the national conference ID Week 2018 in San Francisco, California. 

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