NQF Honors Patient Safety and Quality Leaders

Heather Comak, for HealthLeaders Media , October 12, 2009

The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum (NQF) recently announced the 2009 winners of the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality award, recognizing five honorees.

"This year's winners represent the best of what is possible in improving the safety and quality of healthcare," says Janet Corrigan, PhD, MBA, president and CEO of the National Quality Forum. "They are at the forefront of their fields and have taken risks to improve healthcare by addressing the way care is delivered. They have carried on John Eisenberg's commitment to safety and quality and have truly improved healthcare.

For the first time, the 2009 award contained an international category, and the winner this year, Noreen Zafar, MD, FRCOG, from Pakistan, works to promote gynecological wellness in women.

Other winners included:

  • Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, for using the Toyota Production System model to put patients first. He created the Virginia Mason Production System as a means of doing so.
  • Tejal Gandhi, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, for increasing awareness of patient safety issues in the outpatient setting.
  • Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality, Lansing, MI, for implementing two successful programs that prevent central line-associated bloodstream infections and promote comprehensive unit based safety programs.
  • Mercy Hospital Anderson, Cincinnati, OH, for implementing an automated modified early warning system which scores patients' vital signs.

The award is given each year in honor of Eisenberg, who was former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and one of the founders of the NQF.

"The Eisenberg Award shines a spotlight on the frontline work that is occurring worldwide to improve healthcare quality by making a difference in patient safety," says Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president of The Joint Commission. "These innovations and public commitments to safe, reliable care serve as an example for what can be achieved."

The 2009 awards will be presented next week at the National Quality Forum's Annual National Policy Conference on Quality, which is taking place from October 14-16 in Washington, DC.

Heather Comak is a Managing Editor at HCPro, Inc., where she is the editor of the monthly publication Briefings on Patient Safety, as well as patient safety-related books and audio conferences. She is also is the Assistant Director of the Association for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals. Contact Heather by e-mailing hcomak@hcpro.com.

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