VCU Medical Center Honored with National Prize for Quality and Safety


[This feature also appears in the Fall 2014 Edition of Progress Notes, The Department of Internal Medicine's Quarterly Publication.
Click here to view the publication.]

Fall 2014 -- In July, the American Hospital Association awarded VCU Medical Center with its top honor for leadership and innovation in safety and quality improvement – the AHA–McKesson Quest for Quality Prize®. The AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize is the AHA’s top honor for leadership and innovation in safety and quality improvement, is presented annually, and is supported by a grant from the McKesson Corporation.

VCU Medical Center was selected as the 2014 recipient of the AHA– McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® in part because of training that resulted in a 50 percent reduction in serious safety hospital events, an electronic early warning system that alerts caregivers in real time of a patient’s declining health status and a community clinic that has enhanced care management and care coordination for the sickest, poorest patients.

“We are humbled and honored by this recognition because it affirms that we are among the best of the very best in the nation,” said John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals. “It is because of the dedication and hard work of our more than 10,000 alert and concerned team members that we have had such success in keeping our patients from encountering preventable harm.”

Sheldon Retchin, MD, CEO of the VCU Health System and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences at VCU, said that to achieve the highest quality, an organization must foster a culture of high reliability across all team members, from the physicians and nurses to the pharmacists and therapists to the environmental care workers.

In 2008, the medical center developed “Safety First, Every Day,” a mantra to support the goal of becoming America’s safest health system, through reaching zero events of preventable harm to patients, team members and visitors. Since the initiative’s inception, more than 12,000 team members have been trained in safe behaviors and error-prevention tools, and the hospital has seen a 50 percent reduction in serious safety events.

In 2012, VCU Medical Center created a customized early warning system that pulls data from more than 650 patients’ electronic records to alert providers to potential changes in their conditions. The system empowers the medical center’s Rapid Response Team, a team of clinicians who are in the hospital 24/7, to effectively triage and visit the most critically ill patients before their conditions deteriorate.

“We are humbled and honored by this recognition because it affirms that we are among the best of the very best in the nation,” said John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals.

“It is because of the dedication and hard work of our more than 10,000 alert and concerned team members that we have had such success in keeping our patients from encountering preventable harm.”

As a part of this medical center wide initiative towards safety, the Department of Internal Medicine has taken a number of steps to ensure quality care for patients. In 2012, the Department created its Quality and Performance Improvement Program in order to pursue clinical and service excellence at a system level. The program is comprised of a Quality Improvement Representative from each of the Department’s ten divisions. The group meets monthly to identify opportunities for improvement and review ongoing initiatives.

More recently, in June of 2014, the Department announced that Dr. Sarah Hartigan would join the Department’s Leadership Team as Associate Chair for Quality and Safety. Dr. Hartigan has been at the forefront of the Department’s efforts in providing care safely and has led the Quality and Performance Improvement Program since 2012.
You will find Dr. Hartigan’s Associate Chair Update on Department of Internal Medicine Quality and Safety in this edition of Progress Notes. | IM

(Content from this article sourced in part from "VCU Medical Center wins prestigious national top honor for safety and quality" by Cassie Williams Jones from VCU University Affairs.)

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