Monday, August 21, 2017

Patient ID

Hello from the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania!

Just wanted to let you know that I'm here and on the job. I've met so far with the head of Radiology (who is also the Chief of Staff of the Hospital), the head of IT, the Nuclear Medicine technologist/physicist, and briefly with the Regional CEO and the COO of the hospital. Everyone has gone out of their way to make me feel welcome here, and their warmth, and their pride in this amazing place is incredible.

I am quite taken with the facility as it stands, but the additions, and plans for the future, will certainly propel AKH well into the forefront of patient care in this region. I was most impressed to find that the AKH has passed the stringent Joint Commission standards, which is quite an achievement for any hospital.

The plan will be for me to talk about Nuclear Medicine with the clinical staff one-on-one as the opportunities arise. There may be a chance to give a talk to a larger grouping of the staff, and the request has been that I discuss PET/CT at that time. I plan to have a presence in the Imaging reading room as well, and hopefully IT can put me to work with some connectivity tasks.

At the end of the day I met with the Nuclear Medicine Consultant, who comes in after her regular stint at the Ocean Road Cancer down the street. She works closely with the physicist who essentially runs all of Nuclear Medicine, juggling the schedule to match the delivery of the Mo/Tc generator from South Africa, serves as RSO, and cleans up radiopharmaceutical spills. And he's a physicist, not a technologist!

I talked a bit about PACS with the head of the department. We have had Agfa PACS at home since 2003, and apparently this will be the replacement for the venerable Clear Canvas installation here. Any of you who have read my blog know of my trials and tribulations with Agfa, and I expect our experience has been parlayed into a better product on Agfa's part. We briefly discussed CT protocols, and I'm going to have a peek at those. AKH has a very capable Philips 128 slice scanner, (and some very capable people running it) and I'm sure it won't take much tweaking to optimize it.

It seems the major staff CME occurs on Tuesday mornings. I've missed getting on the schedule for tomorrow's session, but we ran into the pediatrician in charge of staff education, and I'm set to give a talk next Tuesday. I plan to give my introductory lecture about Nuclear Medicine. We are going to try a different idea for some of the remainder of the time; I'm going to try to approach the clinicians in one-on-one fashion, perhaps join in on rounds if that is permissible, and suggest the appropriate Nuclear Medicine studies when, well, appropriate. I'm not certain we can gather more than a handful of physicians at any other time, but if so, I've got other talks to give.

These are exciting times at Aga Khan Hospital. The expansion, physically, strategically, and if I can make up a term, informatically, appears very well thought-out. It is ambitious but rational, and achievable in scope. In particular, the outreach to outlying clinics seems to be quite logical, with development paced by the best connectivity available to the individual site. I can tell you, when the head of IT said the entire process is built around the Patient ID, I was hooked. This is exactly the problem we faced (and continue to face) at Korle Bu, and it is gratifying to see it addressed from the very start.

All in all, this has been a wonderful first day on the job. Again, I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be here.

More to come!

Oh, by the way, I had to miss the eclipse to be here. As seen from my backyard by my wife and friends, it might not have been all that spectacular...

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