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Emory Healthcare’s focus on patient safety and quality earns Georgia Hospital Association awards
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Janet Christenbury
patient safety and quality

Patient safety and quality were the focus of some recent awards presented to Emory Healthcare and two of its hospitals by the Georgia Hospital Association.

ATLANTA – The Georgia Hospital Association Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) recently presented eight of its prestigious patient safety and quality awards to Emory Healthcare, including two Emory hospitals — Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital. The annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for their achievements in patient safety, quality and medical outcomes.

“Hospitals are diligently working to ensure the safety of their patients, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Georgia Hospital Association President and CEO Earl Rogers. “We applaud Emory Healthcare, Emory University Hospital Midtown and Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital for their successes and for making critical progress in patient safety while ensuring the best and safest care possible for patients.”

Emory Healthcare won first place in the Hospitals/Health Systems category for its project, “Implementation of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale as the Standard Nursing Stroke Severity Tool Across a Large Healthcare System.” The project was a system-wide effort by the stroke quality teams to ensure patients received the highest quality stroke care. The collaborative effort implemented a new, standardized tool for nurses across the entire health system to improve the consistency and accuracy of how nurses assess for neurological deficits in patients being treated for known or suspected stroke.

All patients admitted to an Emory Healthcare hospital with a possible or confirmed stroke during the past year have benefitted from the use of this new tool, and patients will continue to benefit, as this tool replaced a previous stroke assessment tool.

Emory University Hospital Midtown won first place in the category, Hospitals with Greater than 300 Beds for its project, “Implementation of a Postoperative Bariatric Surgery Phone Call Intervention to Reduce Emergency Department Visits.” The project involved the metabolic and bariatric surgery coordinator making postoperative calls to patients within one week of bariatric surgery using a structured 10-question template for common postoperative issues. These calls and the detailed tracking of complications helped identify targeted interventions within a clinical escalation pathway to address a variety of issues including dehydration, oral intake and constipation. 

The Emory University Hospital Midtown team exceeded their project goal, with average monthly emergency department visits decreasing from 7.4 percent to 3.8 percent after initiation of the standardized phone call intervention. Follow-up, postoperative calls will continue for patients having bariatric surgery at Emory University Hospital Midtown, as well as at an additional site.

Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital won second place in the same category, Hospitals with Greater than 300 Beds, for its project, “Fall Prevention Leveraging Lean Methodology.” The project established a process to reduce the occurrence of patient falls by using standard work and confirmation with kamishibai (or task) cards. The participating units are now consistently achieving fall rates below the targets set by the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators and one unit achieved 157 days between falls. The fall prevention work is continuing at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital and is expanding to address other clinical practice issues, as well.

Emory University Hospital Midtown also swept the Josh Nahum Award for Infection Prevention and Control category, winning first, second and third place.

  • First place: “A Triple Threat to Preventing Surgical Site Infections: Skin, Nasal, and Hair!” reduced the occurrence of surgical site infections by increasing compliance in three primary areas in the preoperative process — preoperative bathing, nasal decolonization and clipping hair of the surgical site outside of the operating room. 
  • Second place: “Reducing Clostridioides difficile by Using an Interdisciplinary Team Approach” won second place and implemented standards to help decrease the incidence of hospital-acquired C. difficile through multiple efforts of working with the emergency department testing protocols, increased compliance with early testing on nursing units and cleaning and disinfection processes by environmental services. 
  • Third place: “Being CAUTIous! A Hospital’s Journey to Reduce Indwelling Urinary Catheter Utilization to Prevent CAUTIs” won third place and reduced the incidence of catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) by implementing an interdisciplinary approach to reviewing events and working together with frontline team members to develop sustainable solutions for future prevention of infections.

Emory Healthcare and Emory University Hospital Midtown were also presented with Circle of Excellence Awards, 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 2021, but by earning three or more PHA Patient Safety Awards within the previous five years.

“We are honored to receive these patient safety and quality awards from the Georgia Hospital Association’s Partnership for Health and Accountability,” says Jonathan S. Lewin, MD, CEO of Emory Healthcare. “We thank our care teams tremendously for the clinical excellence, exceptional skills and knowledge they provide to our patients and their families, while also delivering safe, quality care.”

The Partnership for Health and Accountability, an affiliate of the Georgia Hospital Association, was established in January 2000 to improve patient care and patient safety in hospitals and other health care facilities and create healthy communities.

Georgia Hospital Association serves more than 150 hospitals in Georgia and promotes the health and welfare of the public through the development of better hospital care for all Georgia’s citizens.

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