Washington State Hospital Association Earns National Award for Patient Safety Collaboration

The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) today received the 2010 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for work advancing the collaboration of hospitals around patient safety. This is one of the highest honors an organization can receive for patient safety and quality.

The award from the National Quality Forum (NQF) and the Joint Commission recognizes WSHA's contributions to improving patient safety and health care quality through its Patient Safety Safe Table Learning Collaboratives. In the collaborative, hospitals from across the state gather to learn from national and regional experts, share best practices, measure progress, and discuss strategies for implementing care improvements. The program received the award in the category of for "Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the National Level."

"When it comes to quality, hospitals in Washington State have set aside competition to focus on collaboration," says Leo Greenawalt, WSHA president. "Working collectively, our hospitals have been able to move the bar on patient safety issues in a way that would not have been possible as individual organizations. This award is a great recognition of that commitment."

The Patient Safety Program and learning collaborative began in 2005 at the request of WSHA member hospitals. The first project was all hospital across the state participating in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 100,000 Lives Campaign. Since then, more than 3,000 health care professionals have participated in the Safe Table Collaboratives, resulting in solid, measurable improvements in the quality and safety of patient care in a wide range of areas. These include:

- Standardizing safety practices Washington is the first state where all hospitals use the surgical checklist

- Significant reduction of hospital-acquired infections

- More than doubling hand hygiene rates

- Increasing workforce flu immunizations to more than 70 percent of staff

- Implementing rapid response teams to help patients in respiratory crisis in more than 70 hospitals

- Enhancing hospital board engagement in patient safety

- Engaging patients and their families in safe care through educational materials including 1.5 million brochures

- Engaging in reducing hospital readmissions through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's State Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations

WSHA's Safe Table Learning Collaborative is recognized by many national healthcare leaders as a template to help health care organizations work together with a focus on quality improvement and patient safety. WSHA's nomination for the award was supported by physician and author Atul Gawande and American Hospital Association president and CEO Richard Umbdenstock, and Virginia Mason's Dr. Gary Kaplan.

"Models improving care across large geographic regions must be recognized and replicated," said Gawande, in his statement of support for WSHA's award. "The Washington State Hospital Association's Safe Table Learning Collaborative stands as a national model for improvement."

Past recipients of the Eisenberg Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the National Level include the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention in Maryland, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality.

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