John Q. Sherman Awards Recognize Excellence in Patient Engagement, HAI Prevention


Winners of the inaugural John Q. Sherman Awards for Excellence in Patient Engagement were honored in award ceremonies at the 16th Annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress in Orlando, Fla. Dr. Nasia Safdar, hospital epidemiologist for the University of Wisconsin Hospital, was recognized with the individual award of excellence. The OpenNotes Collaborative won the award for institutional achievement, which was accepted by Melissa Anselmo, national program director for OpenNotes.

Awards were conferred by Standard Register Healthcare and the National Patient Safety Foundation’s Lucian Leape Institute on behalf of, the online community that sponsored the award.

“The work of Dr. Safdar and the OpenNotes Collaborative offer wonderful examples of how patient engagement can improve healthcare quality and safety,” says Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation and the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute. “Our Institute has been very focused on this issue, and we are pleased to join with Standard Register Healthcare to recognize these efforts.”

Safdar received individual recognition for her successful initiatives in engaging patients and staff to develop interventions at every level of the care delivery process to reduce hospital-associated infections. Her innovative approaches led to significant reductions in catheter-associated urinary tract infections, clostridium difficile infections and surgical site infections. In addition, healthcare worker hand hygiene rates rose from 50 percent to 90 percent in one year.

The OpenNotes Collaborative was selected as the institutional winner for its bold, innovative initiative to engage patients through transparency – by providing them access to the visit notes written by their doctors, nurses or other clinicians. A collaborative formed by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts, Geisinger Health in Pennsylvania and Harborview Medical Center in Washington, the OpenNotes pilot program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was initiated in three cities with 105 physicians, inviting 20,000 patients to access visit notes via a secure e-portal. After one year, a large majority of participating patients reported clinically relevant benefits and minimal concerns, and virtually all patients wanted the practice to continue while physicians reported little or no impact on daily workload, or patient anxiety or confusion. Today, more than three million patients at multiple institutions nationwide have access to their doctors’ notes.

The award competition drew nominations from 23 states. Nominations were evaluated on their relevance to advancing patient engagement, success in engaging patients to drive results, the sustainability of their success, potential for replication, effectiveness in collaborating with others and communicating with their audiences, and their inspirational value.

“The quality of the award submissions was exceptional and the final selection difficult,” says John King, president of Standard Register Healthcare. “In the end, judges were inspired by the way Dr. Safdar and the OpenNotes Collaborative were able to actively engage patients, their families and personal support networks directly into the care process. It is work such as theirs that will bring about the transformation needed to improve the cost, quality and experience of healthcare.”

Full details of the nominees, their award-winning initiatives, and the competition are available at:


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