Our Victorian Public Healthcare Awards Finalists – Pathology Program and the EMR team deliver a powerful impact

You may remember the Pathology team won an inaugural Choosing Wisely Champions Award in 2022. Choosing Wisely Australia is an initiative that aims to improve healthcare quality through carefully considered selection of tests, treatments and procedures for patients. The team won an award for reducing low-value care whilst achieving sustainability outcomes. 

Unstoppable, the Pathology Stewardship and Electronic Medical Record Optimization team have now been selected by the Department of Health as a Victorian Public Healthcare Awards finalist in the Creating a sustainable and climate resilient health system category.  

The Award winners will be announced on 16 November. 

Dramatically reducing duplicate tests 

Consistent with the vision of the Monash Health Strategic Plan to use our resources sustainably, the clinician-led, multidisciplinary team has reduced the number of duplicate tests being ordered or carried out across selected departments at Monash Health. 

As well as being harmful to the environment, unnecessary tests can have adverse health effects for patients, such as pain, anaemia and discomfort when undergoing multiple blood tests and a higher risk of needle stick injuries for employees. Duplicate tests can also negatively impact the experience of the patients we care for in our hospitals. 

Professor Beena Kumar, Program Director, Pathology, is incredibly proud of her team.  

“This innovative, talented group of people have had a remarkable impact on our community as a whole,” she says. 

“The financial and environmental benefits we have seen as a result of reducing unnecessary tests have been significant, and the initiatives will have a lasting impact for Monash Health.”   

The figures that speak for themselves 

  • In 2020, the team designed and implemented a customized alert system to reduce duplicate test ordering within Microbiology. The conclusion of an audit in August 2022 found a 47% reduction in test ordering with a total cost-saving of $100,274. 
  • Discontinuation of unnecessary folate (vitamin B) testing within Biochemistry, which concluded in July 2022, led to savings of almost $20,000 per year. 
  • In Anatomical Pathology, a shift to using Isopropanol (IPA) instead of Histolene for tissue processing resulted in cost savings of $30,000 per year. Histolene is a chemical that can cause skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation. On the other hand, IPA produces high-quality tissue processing and is an environmentally friendly, safer and less expensive alternative to histolene. IPA can also be safely discarded through the hospital sewerage system, eliminating the costs associated with waste removal. 

These results have been achieved through well-coordinated teamwork between pathologists and scientists within the Pathology Program, the EMR team and Gillian Yap, Strategic Advisor to the Chief Medical Officer.  

The team are a credit to Monash Health – we wish them the best of luck at the Awards Gala Night on 16 November!