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Qualitycast North: Playing hide and seek with the appendix


Qualitycast North Season 3 Episode 1
Carly Phinney and Karina Hansen talk about quality improvement in appendix visualization.

The Northern Health Physician Quality Improvement (PQI) podcast Qualitycast North continues with its third season. 

Ultrasound departments everywhere have never been busier and patients with complaints involving all parts of the body visit them every day. 

Ultrasound is the first-line choice for visualization of the appendix when diagnosing possible appendicitis in children, young adults, and pregnant women.  

When the appendix cannot be visualized on ultrasound, the patient may be scheduled for a CT, which introduces additional radiation and may delay diagnosis, and therefore delay treatment.  

At the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC), finding the appendix was proving to be challenging and the department was visualizing the appendix at rates much lower than expected. Karina Hansen, the former supervisor of the UHNBC Ultrasound Department, and Carly Phinney, a Northern Health Quality Improvement Facilitator, teamed up with a local radiologist to tackle the problem.  

They were able to support the department to improve their appendix visualization and brought the rate up to 76.9%, representing a total increase in visualization of 42.4% from baseline. The change ideas they trialed were so successful, they have been adopted as routine practice by UHNBC sonographers and are being spread to other facilities throughout Northern BC. 

Listen to Carly and Karina share their project successes here, or on any podcast platform: Qualitycast North podcast