Team Approach Results in Patient Comfort

A team at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital recently created a bedside tool to increase the comfort and efficiency for cardiac patients.   

By his estimates, Dr. Wayne Gray may have performed well over 10,000 heart catheterizations. He’s been practicing with IU Health for more than five decades – always striving to get the best results for his patients.

Working alongside him for the past seven years is Troy Johnson, an interventional radiology technician. They’ve become familiar with technique and needs so when a new idea came to the table, Johnson pulled in co-worker Joe Cook, a maintenance team member. Together they recently created and introduced an arm-positioning device that improves access to the patient’s artery.

Dr. Gray read about a new approach to the radical artery puncture site that was less painful to patients. Current positioning devices were not adaptable to the technique so the three men put their heads together, designed a prototype, and introduced it into the operating room.

In the field of cardiology Dr. Gray is known as an early adopter of the radial approach to catheterizations, an alternative to the femoral approach. The procedure used to treat certain heart conditions involves threading a thin flexible catheter through a blood vessel into the heart.

Many patients prefer the radial approach because the radial artery in the wrist is smaller than the femoral artery in the groin. It is easier to apply direct pressure to the puncture site to stop the bleeding. For most patients, radial access does not cause as much discomfort as femoral access and many patients are out of bed walking right after the procedure, said Dr. Gray.

Cook has worked in maintenance at IU Health Ball Hospital for 35 years. His craftsmanship is seen throughout the hospital – he has built the majority of the cabinetry. Similar to Dr. Gray’s records with heart catheterizations, Cook estimates he has built well over 1,000 casings. His work includes a doghouse for the IU Health canine unit and a mock up of Methodist Hospital’s iconic lighthouse of health beacon.

The catheterization positioning board is made of Plexiglas and attaches to the side of the operating table similar to a standard surgical arm board.

“This is a situation where team members saw a need that would increase a positive patient experience and they created a solution,” said Jeff Bird, chief operating officer and chief medical officer for IU Health Ball Hospital.

— T.J. Banes,