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AAAHC Unveils Winners of the Bernard A. Kershner Innovations in Quality Improvement Award

AAAHCToday during the virtual Achieving Accreditation conference, the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) revealed the winners of the Bernard A. Kershner Innovations in Quality Improvement (QI) Award, shining a spotlight on health care organizations across the country for their exemplary QI studies.

Named in honor of the late Bernard A. Kershner, a leader in ambulatory health care and distinguished past Chair of the AAAHC Institute Board of Trustees, this prestigious award program recognizes AAAHC-accredited organizations that successfully implemented meaningful changes in their operations to boost quality of care, patient safety, and overall efficiency through QI. Primary care and surgical/procedural organizations submitted detailed descriptions of completed QI studies for consideration, and an expert panel identified finalists in each category.

“This prestigious award program showcases the unique, model efforts made by organizations and their teams to enhance quality of care and patient safety while improving overall efficiencies through quality improvement,” said Edwin Slade, DMD, JD, AAAHC Board Chair. “We applaud this year’s recipients for their commitment to continuously exemplifying the AAAHC 1095 Strong, quality every day philosophy and for demonstrating their dedication to enhancing quality improvement throughout the 1,095 days of the accreditation cycle.”

The competitive award program honors the following health care organizations and their innovative work in QI:

2021-22 Bernard A. Kershner Primary Care Winner
University Health Services, University of Oregon
“Towards a Culture of Best Practice Antibiotic Stewardship: Treatment of Acute Bronchitis”

The study addressed antibiotic (mis)use in the setting of uncomplicated acute bronchitis. Using data analysis to establish a measurement baseline, the team instituted strategies including patient education and staff communication. The COVID-19 pandemic serendipitously supported study efforts by increasing awareness of appropriate virus treatment, along with an increased ability to test for specific viruses. These events contributed to the successful cultural shift to one of thoughtful antibiotic stewardship. By the third year of the study, 89% of students were treated for uncomplicated acute bronchitis without the use of antibiotics, reaching the goal.

2021-22 Bernard A. Kershner Surgical/Procedural Care Winner
The Knoxville Ophthalmology ASC, LLC
“Prevention of Endophthalmitis”

The study focused on preventing postoperative surgical site infections and complications. Upon identifying a spike in endophthalmitis cases, the center adopted a multidisciplinary approach to conduct in-depth infection prevention audits in in the preop, intraop, and postoperative areas and targeted all potential exposures. Following process improvement and continuous monitoring, the facility surpassed the Quality Benchmarking Report average infection rate of 0.223, achieving zero infections.

“I enjoyed learning about each of these quality improvement studies. You can see how each organization rallied around patient safety and overall efficiency in ambulatory organizations,” said Julie Lynch, MS, BSN, RN, Director, AAAHC Institute for Quality Improvement. “This year’s Bernie winners addressed the question of how to make a difference in patient lives. They demonstrated measurable performance improvement, going beyond simple changes to transform their culture, build teamwork, and improve staff communication.”

To learn more about the exemplary QI studies recognized by the Bernard A. Kershner Awards through the years, please view the easy-to-follow infographic featuring all past Kershner QI Award winners and their results across the surgical/procedural and primary care categories:

For additional information on QI studies or to register to attend the in-person AAAHC Achieving Accreditation conference this December, visit



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