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UNC Urology has long been renowned for providing patients with a clinical environment that is smooth and efficient, while also providing highly advanced and personalized medical care.

A newly launched “Quality Improvement” (Q.I.) initiative further enhances the patient experience by implementing a systematic yet dynamic means of identifying best practices and measuring outcomes in order to enhance all aspects of the Department’s three core activities; 1) Patient Care, 2) Research, and 3) Education of tomorrow’s leading urologists.

Dr. Matthew Nielsen, Professor and Chair of the UNC Urology Department, has been a leader locally and nationally in this space, currently serving as Director of Quality for UNC Faculty Physicians, Chair of the American Urological Association’s Science and Quality Council, and a member of National Quality Forum’s (NQF) Diagnostic Excellence Committee. The new program is also aligned with the goals of the UNC Institute for Healthcare Quality Improvement, for which Dr. Nielsen served as Associate Director from 2018-2021, and other University programs.

The new Q.I. program was envisioned and launched by Dr. Katherine Chan, Vice Chair of Research for the Department of Urology, with the enthusiastic support and endorsement of Dr. Nielsen and the faculty.

Quality Improvement is Mission Critical

“To ensure we’re achieving our objectives related to quality, our initiative includes a very data driven approach so that we can set meaningful goals and create an optimal environment for everyone involved, including patients as well as their families,” says Dr. Hans Arora, Assistant Professor of Urology and Co-Director of the new Quality Improvement Initiative.

“It takes advance planning and constant vigilance, but is well worth the effort because it has a profoundly positive impact,” says Dr. Arora. “We’re bringing about improvements that cover everything from how patients set up appointments, to the care they receive, and efficient processes for specific actions like filling of prescriptions.”

Dr. Dave Friedlander, Assistant Professor of Urology and Co-Director for Quality Improvement adds, “Fully embracing quality improvement means we’re also implementing ways to ensure smooth processes for the entire clinical team involved including physicians, nurses and other providers who are all part of the continuum of care – that’s a key ingredient to ensuring quality.”

“We are not just doctors and nurses, we’re also patients as well because we’ve all been on the other side of the exam room, receiving medical care. We want to ensure all patients are treated equitably, from meeting with a caring and concerned provider, to having access to world class medical procedures and technologies, and then a speedy return to their everyday lives afterward.”

Hans Arora, MD, PhD
Director of Pediatric Robotic Surgery
Assistant Professor of Urology


Walking the Walk: A Focus on “Quality Improvement” Drives Further Innovation

The new initiative has already resulted in a number of improvements, a few of which include:

  • Automating processes to enhance efficiency of triaging kidney stone patients.
    • With the support of the UNC Institute for Health Quality Improvement (IHQI), UNC Urology partnered with NC State University’s (NCSU) Industrial Design Department. NCSU students helped create a program that helps prioritize and optimize the flow of patients, based on their unique medical needs.
  • Implementing methodologies for teaching residents additional ways to improve patient care.
    • This gives tomorrow’s urologists a better “Q.I. skillset,” better equipping them as they move into careers involving clinical work, research, and teaching.
      • One example includes optimizing the techniques used in performing advanced, minimally invasive robotic surgeries, for which UNC Urology is renowned as a leader.
  • Shortening the time from which prostate biopsies are ordered, until when they are performed.
    • This improved process has already led to tangible reductions in wait times for patients.
  • Introducing a more effective approach to capturing relevant data and insights from regularly occurring case-based review discussions.
    • A new process helps more efficiently identify best practices, and provides additional educational training for residents. It also adds to the bank of scholarly research articles for the greater benefit of medical education.

“Having a formalized Q.I. initiative ensures we approach our goals in an organized and systematic way with designated individuals helping to guide the process. We have a better ability to focus our efforts, measure results, and share optimal practices both within our Department and beyond, for the benefit of other urologists outside of UNC. We’re helping advance the quality of urologic care on a larger scale than just at UNC.”

Dave Friedlander, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Urology

To Learn More…

If you are interested in knowing more about urologic procedures or related urologic topics, you may visit our website’s Patient Care section, or meet with a provider by contacting one of our UNC Urology clinic locations.

About Our Ahead of the Curve Series

Our “Ahead of the Curve” blog series covers the latest and most effective treatments and techniques in UNC Urology patient care. Urology is a complex and rapidly evolving field, with new advancements and breakthroughs constantly emerging. In this series, we will explore a range of topics related to urology patient care, including advanced surgical procedures, innovative diagnostic techniques, and innovative medical therapies. Our goal is to provide you with an overview of the excellence and innovation happening right here at UNC Urology.

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