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Awards to be presented at National Quality Forum’s 2019 Annual Conference

The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF) have named the recipients of the 2018 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards. As champions of quality improvement (QI) initiatives to provide safe, high quality care, The Joint Commission and NQF will honor the recipients today during an awards ceremony at NQF’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

The Eisenberg Awards bring together the quality community to recognize groundbreaking initiatives that are consistent with the aims of the National Quality Strategy: better care, healthy people and communities, and smarter spending.

The honorees are presented in three categories to celebrate the best examples of individual, local and national initiatives. This year’s honorees include:

  • Individual Achievement: Brent C. James, MD, MStat, clinical professor, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California, and senior advisor, Health Catalyst, Salt Lake City
  • Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the National Level: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons, Chicago
  • Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the Local Level: BJC HealthCare, St. Louis

Dr. James is recognized for bringing QI science and methodology to clinical care for more than three decades. He worked with W. Edwards Deming, PhD, to publish the first paper showing that Deming’s QI concepts applied to the clinical practice of medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), and participated in the organization’s initial seminal works on clinical quality and patient safety, including To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm. Dr. James has trained more than 5,000 senior physician, nursing and administrative executives in QI science and methodology and helps support some of the more than 50 “sister” clinical QI training programs that emerged from that effort.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) is honored for its industry leadership in health care quality and safety. The centerpiece of the Society’s quality program is the STS National Database. The database, established in 1989, includes subspecialty registries for adult and pediatric cardiac surgery, mechanical circulatory support, and general thoracic surgery. Using data from the registry, STS has developed risk models and NQF-endorsed composite performance measures for all of its subspecialties and major procedures to help providers guide their improvement initiatives. These measures also are the basis for the Society’s highly successful voluntary public reporting program.

BJC HealthCare is recognized for its system-wide approach improving patient safety through reductions in preventable harm. In 2008, the 15-hospital health system launched a five-year, system-wide initiative to reduce preventable harm in a wide variety of categories, including falls with serious injury, pressure ulcers, adverse drug events, healthcare-associated infections and venous thromboembolism. Through implementing practical interventions for categories of harm, the health system had sustained success improving outcomes, with a 75 percent reduction in preventable harm over 10 years.

“These awards honor the hard work it takes to improve quality and safety. Such leadership takes vision, passion and a commitment to improving care for every person,” says Shantanu Agrawal, president and CEO, NQF. “These honorees extend the Eisenberg legacy by showing us what is possible and creating new expectations for high quality care.”

“We are pleased to recognize the honorees for their innovative approaches to improve patient safety and quality of care,” says David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president, Division of Health Care Quality Evaluation, The Joint Commission. “They have demonstrated that quality improvement efforts can be achieved at the individual, national and local levels. Quality improvement opportunities are vast as we continue to aim toward the goal of achieving zero harm in health care.”

The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002, honors the late John M. Eisenberg, MD, MBA, former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). An impassioned advocate for health care quality improvement, Eisenberg was a member of NQF’s founding board of directors, chaired the federal government’s Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force and personally led AHRQ’s grant program to support patient safety research.

For more information on the Eisenberg Awards, please visit The Joint Commission website.



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