The X-ray is a common, effective diagnostic tool. Routinely ordering chest X-rays is standard practice at most hospitals, but sometimes that can mean a patient gets an X-ray in the emergency room and then another one when he or she is admitted to the hospital.

We found a better way. In a pilot project in the Froedtert & MCW Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, a team of doctors and nurses analyzed the data and changed the process so chest X-rays can’t be “routinely” ordered for a patient. Now, a written order related to specific clinical indicators is required for every chest X-ray in the Neuro ICU. The change reduced routine chest X-rays by 30 percent, and the new process became standard in all of our ICUs.

By studying the data behind an everyday practice, we eliminated 13,000 procedures, saved $1.5 million in X-ray charges over the past two years, and spared ICU patients exposure to unnecessary radiation. And the electronic health record system across Froedtert Health enables similar efficiencies with all hospitalized patients at our other hospitals, not just in the ICU.

Learn more about our Neuroscience Center.