-Author name in bold denotes the presenting author
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5062 Implementation of a Multipronged Intervention to Improvement Inpatient Sickle Cell Disease Care

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 901. Health Services and Quality Improvement - Non-Malignant Conditions: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Clinical Practice (Health Services and Quality)
Monday, December 11, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Daniela Anderson, MD1*, Valerie G. Press, MD2*, Kenneth S. Cohen, MD3 and Nabil Abou Baker, MD2

1University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
2Section of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
3Section of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL


Over the decades, many interventions have been used to improve care for patients with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). There are 19 whole lifespan SCD centers, 30 pediatric SCD centers, and 28 adult SCD centers compared to 6,129 hospitals and over 220 children’s hospitals in the US. The number of providers is insufficient to meet the needs of patients with SCD. Caring for patients without a dedicated Comprehensive SCD Center, such as our institution, can be challenging. Therefore, we developed a framework to leverage expertise in hematology, internal medicine, and emergency medicine to improve SCD patient care processes.

In these settings, filling the gap in SCD care requires a multipronged creative approach that is implemented over time in a stepwise fashion. This allows time to adapt the intervention to the local medical system for more enduring change. This project looks at the longitudinal interventions that have occurred at the University of Chicago (UC) to address SCD care and discusses procedures to achieve successful implementation.


In the first step, we identified the key stakeholders to determine the system’s needs and goals (Table 1). This involved clinicians and staff who were interested in improving care for patients with SCD. The second step involved stakeholders creating a plan after analyzing the current care. Multipronged interventions were developed and implemented (see Figure 1 for a timeline and list of interventions). The final steps involved provider training. Furthermore, we tracked the progress of our interventions using the Electronic Medical Record (EMR). An EMR review was performed from 7/17/22 to 6/13/23 to evaluate our utilization. Descriptive statistics and Chi-Square were used to evaluate the data. This project was formally determined to be quality improvement and was therefore not overseen by the Institutional Review Board.


Regarding the first step, our task force comprises a large multidisciplinary group (see Table 1 for a full list). Next, it was important that we implement sustainable and useful systems (see Figure 1). In the review period, 154 patients were admitted 488 times. The SPP was used or viewed 134 times. Seventy-nine percent (122/154) of admitted patients had an IPP that was used, viewed, or created during their admission. Since the opening of the SCD Day clinic, there have been a total of 1045 SCD-related encounters, with an average of 36 patients a month or 1.7 patients a day.

When comparing the review period to the same time in the prior year, the inpatient hydroxyurea protocol did not significantly improve the use of the medication. Hydroxyurea use changed from 64% to 65% of admissions and 65% to 68% of admitted patients. The inpatient SCD consult service received new consult requests in 44% of SCD admissions (214 total times). Lastly, over 100 hospitalists, resident physicians, inpatient teaching team physicians, and hematology physicians were educated along the way regarding changes in our system.


With time and a multipronged approach, achieving change in a large medical system is possible.

The largest hurdle to overcome is funding. This is why our initial interventions focused on the implementation of EMR tools such as SPP, IPP, and educating providers. Though there was an up-front time cost, once completed, these interventions could be iterated on easily. It was not until 2022, that dedicated funding for a consult service could be secured. Having a large multidisciplinary team allows for creative ideas, dividing of tasks, accountability, and expertise in implementation. This does come with a limitation as it is harder to implement changes the larger the group becomes. Thus, a balance of members is vital.

Frequent provider education is paramount in disseminating and improving the changes that are in the system. The plan, do, study, act model is a staple in quality improvement. It is important that there is foresight in developing a model to track the quality of care. The EMR’s tools should be maximized to aid clinicians as efficiently as possible.


Making large changes without funding or an institutional push can be challenging. Small incremental grassroots changes may be necessary until additional funding has been negotiated and secured. Meeting and exchanging ideas as a team and establishing pathways for improvement is a viable initial step.

Disclosures: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

*signifies non-member of ASH