Emory Healthcare garners numerous patient safety awards

Woodruff Health Sciences Center | March 13, 2012

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Lance M. Skelly
404-686-8538
Lance.Skelly@emoryhealthcare.org

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Emory Healthcare is the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia.

Emory Healthcare and three of its hospitals recently received numerous awards, including the prestigious Overall Circle of Excellence Award, from the Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) during its annual Patient Safety Summit.  

The PHA Quality and Patient Safety Awards recognize health care organizations for achievement in implementing evidence-based processes and best practices in reducing the risk of adverse outcomes and improving patient safety and quality.

The PHA was formed in January 2000 and is sponsored by the Georgia Hospital Association. It is a unique statewide collaborative that brings together health care providers with community agencies and individuals to achieve healthy communities. The organization includes representation from groups including hospitals, physicians, state health officials, legislators and businesses.

"Keeping patients safe during hospitalization is the goal of every hospital," said Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) President Joseph Parker. "We applaud Emory Healthcare for its use of best practices in restraint prevalence and its dedication in providing the best and safest care possible for its patients."

Emory Healthcare

The Emory Healthcare system earned the prestigious Quality and Patient Safety Award for a project that reduced patient restraint usage. The project titled, "Please Release Me: A Restraint Reduction Initiative in a Healthcare System," won first place in the Hospital/Health Systems Category.

Emory Healthcare was also presented with a Circle of Excellence Award, an honor given to hospitals and health systems that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to quality and patient safety as evidenced by not only winning a patient safety award in 2011, but also by earning three or more PHA Patient Safety Awards within the previous five years These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

Emory University Hospital

Emory University Hospital (EUH) was presented the Quality and Patient Safety Award for a project that improved care of pneumonia patients in the emergency department (ED). The project titled, "Improving Pneumonia Quality Measures in the Emergency Department," won first place in the Hospitals with Greater than 300 Beds Category.

The goal of the EUH project was to achieve a 95 percent compliance rate on a core measures bundle for care of pneumonia patients in the ED (Emergency Department). A bundle is a set of best practices, that, when applied as a group to patient care, result in substantially greater improvement than when the practices are applied individually. The core measures for Emory’s project included taking blood cultures from patients to determine the cause of infection prior to antibiotic administration and administering antibiotics within six hours of hospital arrival.

As a result of the project, the percentage of ED patients who had blood cultures drawn before being given antibiotics increased from below 90 percent to greater than 95 percent. The percentage of patients receiving antibiotics within six hours of admission increased from 86 percent to greater than 95 percent. 

EUH also earned a Circle of Excellence Award.

Emory University Hospital Midtown

Emory University Hospital Midtown (EUHM) earned a Quality and Patient Safety Award for a project that improved care of pneumonia patients in ICUs. The project titled, "Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia: Sustaining the Gain: A Success Story," won second place in the Hospitals with Greater than 300 Beds Category.

Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) is one of the most common infectious complications among patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), prolonging length of stay and increasing the risk of death. The goal of Emory’s project was to further reduce the occurrences of VAP by examining the most recent evidence-based practices and applying them to patient care. The results at EUHM showed VAP rates decreased from 5.1 per 1,000 patients in fiscal year 2007 to a rate of 1.0 per 1,000 patients in fiscal year 2011. Sustained rates of less than 2.0 per 1,000 patients have been maintained for the last 4 years with a 30 percent decrease in the last year. All four of the hospital’s ICU’s reflect this sustained reduction.

Emory Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital

Emory Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital received a Quality and Patient Safety Award for its project that improved psychiatric patient outcomes during hospitalization and post-hospitalization. The project titled, "Improving Patient Outcomes through Inpatient Psychiatric Core Measures," won second place in the Hospitals with Less than 100 Beds Category.

Wesley Woods personnel found that certain populations of patients were readmitted to hospitals more often than other patients. Researchers found common threads leading to the high number of readmissions, such as misunderstanding of appropriate medication usage; lack of timely primary care follow up; inadequate education regarding diagnoses and disease processes; and lack of education regarding lifestyle changes that could improve overall health. 

An interdisciplinary team was formed to oversee compliance with core measures in the hospital’s geriatric psychiatric and neuropsychiatric units. The goal was to improve compliance rates to a minimum of 95 percent.

Several measures were taken to achieve the goal, including making sure a written check list was maintained in each patient’s chart; using electronic patient history and physical records that allowed for better compliance with admission requirements; and hiring a transition care coordinator who assisted patients with transitioning from inpatient to outpatient status. Initial compliance rates improved from less than 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 100 percent in the second quarter of 2011.