High-sensitive troponin T (hsTnT) is a “disruptive" assay: Its implementation, in almost any organization, is bound to impact workflow and clinical practice across the enterprise. For that reason, most lab leaders agree, it's important that the people driving the biomarker's introduction come up with a plan for involving hospital administration, including quality experts, the chief medical officer, and emergency medicine and cardiology service line leaders. The administrators at the helm of your organization will want to see evidence of the initiative's clinical and economic benefits. If you hope to ensure that your project will be successful, you'll need to show them the value of hsTnT so you can count on their initial and ongoing support.
The question, then, involves making your “sales pitch." Should you approach the C- suite only once the assay is in use so you can demonstrate its efficacy with relevant data? Or is it better to talk with them at the start so you have their backing as you bring the project live? Here, two experts with experience leading hsTnT initiatives share their thoughts on the subject of C-suite buy-in.
When her laboratory introduced hsTnT at Geisinger Health System, says medical laboratory director Elsie Yu, PhD, DABCC, FACB, it did so with the understanding that a meeting with executives wouldn't need to take place until a later date. The C-suite was too busy with other issues, she notes, and she already had support from the chairs of the organization's emergency and cardiology departments. “So I didn't have to escalate it further."
Thus far, Dr. Yu adds, they've collected promising data showing how hsTnT may be reducing their “door to discharge" times—and they're looking at test-lab data to determine if the assay's use has led to an increase in the number of small blockages doctors diagnose. Her plan, she says, is to eventually gather “clean data" around those studies and others to quantify the health and economic impacts of the test, and then “bring it to the C-suite to tell them that this is working as predicted."
An alternative approach to securing top-level approval involves close collaboration from the very start, says Ibrahim Hashim, MSc, PhD, DABCC, FIBMS, CSc, FACB, medical director for clinical chemistry at Parkland Hospital and Health System. “We realized that this was going to be a project that would touch a lot of areas and require a lot of resources. So we reached out to the C-suite and really described the process and asked if they could help."
Among the top selling points his team highlighted for executives upfront was the impact hsTnT would have on patient wait times in the emergency room. And “they were very interested," he recalls, in research that illustrates how the assay could improve overall efficiency. “I think they realized that there would be cost savings, that it's going to have an impact on operations, and they really liked that."
Now, Dr. Hashim says, his laboratory is collecting hsTnT data, and they plan to return to the C-suite in the near future to show executives they were right to offer their support. “I think," he predicts, “we'll be able to show how the lab has impacted outcomes." Finally, he hopes, they'll have what they need to illustrate how hsTnT has made his team “a partner in patient-centered care."
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