Research Highlights

research2The following are a few examples of the research conducted at the University Health System and the positive impact of these studies.

  • The research into cardiovascular disease at University Hospital has transformed how we treat all patients with blockages. Beginning with the original 10 heart patients that we treated in 1989, Dr Julio Palmaz's stent is now placed in over 1.5 million patients' world wide each year. These patients feel better and now are living longer thanks to advances like this.
  • John Roache, PhD established the University Clinical Psychopharmacology Lab (UCPL) in 1998. This site is leading the field to conduct Phase I and II clinical trials studying new approaches to understanding the treatment of alcohol and drug dependence.
  • Research at times, requires longevity, which is why some studies conducted at UHS have been ongoing since the late 1970's. Dr. Morton Kahlenberg is the Principle Investigator for the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) addressing various approaches to the treatment of breast, colon, and rectal cancer. Longer-term follow-up allows us to detect differences in treatment strategies as well as determine if earlier noted differences still hold true.
  • Mark Soucy, PhD, APRN, BC, recently completed his research study: The Experience of Fatigue in Persons with HIV-disease. Soucy conducted the research at The University Health System's downtown facility in the immunosuppression clinic. The theoretical model that emerged from Soucy's study "Keeping on Going with HIV-Related Fatigue."
  • Terry S. LeGrand, PhD, RRT, David C. Shelledy, PhD, RRT, and Jay I. Peters, MD (School of Allied Health Sciences and Division of Pulmonary Medicine) are co-principal investigators on a study designed to evaluate the role of an in-home asthma disease management program provided by respiratory therapists (RT's) in improving outcomes and reducing the cost of care.
  • Research results have changed the way we treat diabetes and its complications. Dr. Ralph A. DeFronzo and his team of investigators perform studies at the Texas Diabetes Institute Research Center to identify the cause of Type II diabetes in Mexican Americans. Patients involved in these studies benefit being treated with the most current medication therapies.
  • Urgent Matters: Catalyst for Change
    Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the year-long Urgent Matters initiative was a pivotal learning experience for University Hospital . Using a process improvement technique called Rapid Cycle Testing (RCT) , the project focused on increasing efficiency in patient throughput by making small, short-term changes to daily work routines and noting the results. Focus areas were the emergency center and inpatient floors.

Changes resulting in increased efficiency and shorter turn-around-time were incorporated into practice; changes that netted no improvement were discarded.

  • As a result of the process improvements made, the number of patients seen in the emergency center increased by an average of 500 more per month.
  • The improvements in efficiency and work flow realized during the project were employee driven. The most effective changes were made by the process owners themselves.
  • The process improvements made during Urgent Matters were driven by a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) including average time from inpatient bed assignment to bed placement, average time of day for discharge, and average bed turn-around-time. The project's daily focus on units of time highlighted the great benefits of process indicators, as a companion to clinical indicators, in measuring improvements in patient service and care. An early outcome of the project was the acquisition of bed tracking software to streamline the admissions process.
  • Process improvement is a continual rather than a finite activity. And, for University Hospital, many of the targets of opportunity identified during Urgent Matters remain a work in progress.