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'VGH is a changemaker’: Hematology and Transfusion Medicine team wins People First Award of Merit

05/09/2018

Above photo: Members of the Hematology and Transfusion Medicine team at the People First Awards with CEO Mary Ackenhusen (far left).

Ever wonder where critically ill patients at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) get the blood products they need to survive? The Hematology and Transfusion Medicine team are the “unsung heroes" providing this life-saving service – and the 2018 winners of the People First Award of Merit for Innovation.

“They are our hospital's unsung heroes," says anesthesiologist Dr. Jacqueline Trudeau. “When the sickest of patients come through our doors, they silently, efficiently, and seemingly effortlessly provide blood products and test results… Without them, our patients would perish."

The team recently helped implement a groundbreaking new system for a laboratory test used to assess bleeding and clotting in very ill patients. The project was challenging: traditionally the test is performed at the bedside of patients in the operating or emergency rooms, but clinicians wanted to provide access across all critical care areas of the hospital.

“This required the lab to implement the test in a way that is not traditionally done," explains Dr. Trudeau, noting no other hospitals in Canada have achieved the same unique implementation of the test. “We felt that this was the only way to optimally improve care for all of these patient populations."

The change equaled disruption and new ways of doing things, but the team took it in stride.

“It was the opportunity to do something new, although no easy solutions were available," adds Dr. Trudeau. “The team worked together to solve difficult, new problems; they stayed late often; they tolerated additional stress, and took on this extra work with excitement for the challenge."

And all their hard-work paid off: clinicians at VGH can now see the test in real-time as it is being handled in the lab, something that has made a meaningful difference – and improved outcomes –for patients.

On Aug. 22, CEO Mary Ackenhusen stopped by the VGH Hematology Lab to congratulate the team for their groundbreaking work. Their new system is being regarded as a potential solution to challenges other hospitals around the world are facing.

“The system that has now been set up in the lab – to provide real-time streamed coagulation information to the bedside – is being showcased in the world of coagulation testing as an innovative successful solution to a problem that everyone is trying to solve," says Dr. Trudeau. “VGH is a changemaker in this area."

The Hematology and Transfusion Medicine team at VGH includes: Kanwal Deol, Len Perry, Jim Yakimec, Todd Markin, Geoffrey Chan, Lawrence Sham, Dr. Tyler Smith, and Teri Dahlgren.

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