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Qualis Health Presents Annual Awards of Excellence to Seven Washington State Healthcare Providers

June 4, 2009

Seattle, WA - Qualis Health presented Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality on Thursday, June 4, recognizing seven outstanding healthcare providers in Washington State. Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, president and CEO of Qualis Health, presented the awards during a luncheon ceremony at the Northwest Patient Safety Conference at the Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center. Since 2002, The Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality have recognized organizations in Washington that have made significant contributions to healthcare through innovative, measurable improvements in care.

“We are once again honored to commend those outstanding organizations in Washington that exemplify the improvement of healthcare quality and outcomes for the residents across our state,” stated Dr. Sugarman. “Their commitment to excellence in healthcare delivery evidenced by their active and voluntary participation in these projects is truly exceptional.”

Washington healthcare providers submitted nominations for the annual awards beginning in March. The awards were presented in several categories including “For Doing More and Better with Less: Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness,” “For Innovations in the Use of HIT,” “For Improving Access and Delivery of Care,” “For Patient and Family Centered Care” and “For Improving Care Transitions.” The nominations were evaluated by a group of 10 esteemed healthcare professionals, and each nomination was independently scored on a 100-point scale.

The Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality for projects completed in 2008 in Washington State were awarded to the following organizations:

For Doing More and Better with Less: Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness

Multicare Health System

Urinary Tract Infection Reduction Program

Multicare Health System used a bundle approach to identify urinary tract infections (UTI) that were present in patients upon admission as well as UTIs acquired during hospitalization. By use of a standardized urinary management program, Multicare was able to eliminate 187 UTIs, save 1,300 patient days and avoid $1.5 million dollars in added costs, none of which would have been reimbursed by new Medicare rules.

Hall Health Primary Care Center

Acute Pharyngitis/Sore Throats

The Hall Health Primary Care Center project focused on improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of diagnosing and treating patients with sore throats. Using evidence-based practice guidelines, Hall Health defined areas for quality improvement, including developing and implementing a local practice guideline for sore throats. These new guidelines reduced the number of tests per case and cost per case of diagnostic testing, with significant positive impacts on treatment utilization.

For Innovations in the Use of Health Information Technology

Harborview Medical Center

Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcer Tracking Program

Patient suffering and excess costs of care associated with hospital acquired pressure ulcers (HAPU), which are bed sores that are painful, disfiguring and potentially life-threatening, have fueled national and local initiatives to address prevention. Harborview Medical Center undertook a focused study of the risk factors inherent in its specialty patient populations. By targeting interventions associated with specialty risks, Harborview was able to reduce or eliminate several specialty risk-based bed sores, reduce the overall rate of bedsores and increase detection in its early stages.

Virginia Mason Medical Center

Health Maintenance Module

A clinical information team enhanced an electronic medical record tool to expand the number of screening tests, strengthen alert rules and document preventive care for patients. Called the Health Maintenance Module (HMM), the use of this tool increased the rate of providing on-time, age appropriate, gender specific and evidence-based preventive health interventions to an adult primary care patient population by 25%. This has resulted in Virginia Mason now being able to reliably offer evidence-based, preventive healthcare intervention such as cancer screenings, vaccinations and monitoring of chronic disease management/progression in a much more expedient way.

For Improving Access and Delivery of Care

Tacoma General Hospital

Low-Risk Chest Pain Process Improvement Initiative

Tacoma General Hospital formed a Low-Risk Chest Pain Task Force to address the lack of a standardized evidence-based approach for low-risk chest pain evaluation in the emergency department. Based on the Task Force’s recommendations, a Low-Risk Chest Pain Process Improvement Initiative was developed that has resulted in a treadmill stress test system in which 21 ED nurses were trained to perform stress tests during evening and nighttime hours. The first year of implementation resulted in a reduction of chest pain hospital admissions for the first time since 2004. This initiative has helped to improve patient care and support of better utilization of healthcare resources for low-risk chest pain patients.

For Patient and Family Centered Care

Providence St. Peter Hospital

AMI Door to Dilation

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Joint Commission standard for Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) (heart attack) Door to Dilation, the time it takes to open blocked arteries in the heart to reduce heart muscle damage during a heart attack, is treatment within 90 minutes. Providence St. Peter Hospital’s AMI Door to Dilation performance was at 65% (mean = 94 minutes, standard deviation = 47 minutes). In 2007 the hospital launched an improvement project calling on multiple hospital, cardiology and Medic One stakeholders to do better. From 2007 to 2008, Providence St. Peter Hospital increased its performance from baseline to target from 65% to 98%. The mean improved from 95 minutes to 56 minutes and the standard deviation was reduced from 47 minutes to 21 minutes, a superb collaboration resulting in superior outcomes for heart attack patients.

For Improving Care Transitions

Virginia Mason Medical Center

Resident Handoffs

Internal Medicine and General Surgery residents engaged in improvement efforts with Virginia Mason Medical Center’s Graduate Medical Education department that resulted in a 25% improvement and a > 90% satisfaction score in the transfer of patient information between providers at shift-to-shift handoffs. The adoption of new, efficient handoff procedures and consistent follow-through garnered the attention of hospital leadership, resulting in funding for programming to automate the handoff content within a computerized order entry and electronic medical record system.

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