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Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D.
Peter John Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Patient Safety and Quality
Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
Research Interests: Patient safety; Evidence-based medicine; Quality health care; ICU care
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Contact for Research Inquiries
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Dr. Peter Pronovost is a professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, surgery, nursing, and health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a practicing anesthesiologist and critical care physician who is dedicated to finding ways to make hospitals and healthcare safer for patients.
In June 2011, he was named director of the new Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins, as well as Johns Hopkins Medicine’s senior vice president for patient safety and quality.
Dr. Pronovost has developed a scientifically proven method for reducing the deadly infections associated with central line catheters. His simple but effective checklist protocol virtually eliminated these infections, saving 1,500 lives and $100 million annually across the state of Michigan. These results have been sustained for more than three years. Moreover, the checklist protocol is now being implemented across the United States, state by state, and several other countries. The New Yorker magazine says that Pronovost’s work has already saved more lives than that of any laboratory scientist in the past decade.
He has chronicled his work helping improve patient safety in his book, Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor’s Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out. In addition, he has written more than 800 articles and chapters related to patient safety and the measurement and evaluation of safety efforts. He serves in an advisory capacity to the World Health Organization’s World Alliance for Patient Safety.
The winner of several national awards, including the 2004 John Eisenberg Patient Safety Research Award and a 2008 MacArthur Fellowship (known popularly as the “genius grant”), he was named by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in the world for his work in patient safety. For several years, Dr. Pronovost has been named one of the top 50 physician executives by Modern Healthcare, which also listed him in 2014 and 2015 as one of the 100 most influential people in healthcare. He regularly addresses Congress on the importance of patient safety, prompting a report by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform strongly endorsing his ICU infection prevention program. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. He serves on the expert panel for the Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Scorecard.
Dr. Pronovost, who earned his M.D. at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, previously headed Johns Hopkins Quality and Safety Research Group and was medical director of the Hopkins Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care. Both groups, as well as other partners through the university and health system, have been folded into the new Armstrong Institute.
- Senior Vice President, Patient Safety and Quality
- Director, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
- Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine
- Associate Professor of Surgery
- Joint Appointment in Health Sciences Informatics
Departments / Divisions
Centers & Institutes
- MD; Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (1991)
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (1994)
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (1997)
- American Board of Anesthesiology / Anesthesiology (1996)
- American Board of Anesthesiology / Critical Care Medicine (1997)
Research & Publications
Dr. Pronovost focuses on applying clinical research methods that improve the quality of healthcare and patient safety, particularly in intensive care units. His five-step checklist to reduce catheter-related bloodstream infections has saved thousands of lives and is now in place in 47 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and many countries throughout the world.
- Pronovost PJ, Goeschel CA, Olsen KL, Pham JC, Miller MR, Berenholtz SM, Sexton JB, Marsteller JA, Morlock LL, Wu AW, Loeb JM, Clancy CM. "Reducing health care hazards: lessons from the commercial aviation safety team." Health Aff (Millwood). 2009 May-Jun;28(3):w479-89. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.3.w479. Epub 2009 Apr 7.
- Schwartz JM, Nelson KL, Saliski M, Hunt EA, Pronovost PJ. "The daily goals communication sheet: a simple and novel tool for improved communication and care." Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2008 Oct;34(10):608-13, 561.
- Wachter RM, Flanders SA, Fee C, Pronovost PJ. "Public reporting of antibiotic timing in patients with pneumonia: lessons from a flawed performance measure." Ann Intern Med. 2008 Jul 1;149(1):29-32.
- Pronovost PJ, Berenholtz SM, Needham DM. "Translating evidence into practice: a model for large scale knowledge translation." BMJ. 2008 Oct 6;337:a1714. doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1714.
- Pronovost PJ, Goeschel CA, Wachter RM. "The wisdom and justice of not paying for ‘preventable complications.'" JAMA. 2008 May 14;299(18):2197-9. doi: 10.1001/jama.299.18.2197.
- Makary MA, Al-Attar A, Holzmueller CG, Sexton JB, Syin D, Gilson MM, Sulkowski MS, Pronovost PJ. "Needlestick injuries among surgeons in training." N Engl J Med. 2007 Jun 28;356(26):2693-9.
- Pham JC, Kelen GD, Pronovost PJ. "National study on the quality of emergency department care in the treatment of acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia." Acad Emerg Med. 2007 Oct;14(10):856-63.
- Pronovost P, Needham D, Berenholtz S, Sinopoli D, Chu H, Cosgrove S, Sexton B, Hyzy R, Welsh R, Roth G, Bander J, Kepros J, Goeschel C. "An intervention to decrease catheter-related bloodstream infections in the ICU." N Engl J Med. 2006 Dec 28;355(26):2725-32. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2007 Jun 21;356(25):2660.
- Pronovost PJ, Angus DC, Dorman T, Robinson KA, Dremsizov TT, Young TL. "Physician staffing patterns and clinical outcomes in critically ill patients: a systematic review." JAMA. 2002 Nov 6;288(17):2151-62. Review.
- Pronovost PJ, Jenckes MW, Dorman T, Garrett E, Breslow MJ, Rosenfeld BA, Lipsett PA, Bass E. "Organizational characteristics of intensive care units related to outcomes of abdominal aortic surgery." JAMA. 1999 Apr 14;281(14):1310-7.
Academic Affiliations & Courses
Graduate Program Affiliation
Department of Health Policy and Management, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Courses and Syllabi
Graduate Seminar in Health Care Management and Leadership (Co-Director)
Activities & Honors
- Clinician Scientist Award, 2000
- Clinician Scientist Award, 2001
- Leapfrog Group Health Care Purchasing Standard (based on my research), 2001
- Presidential Citation for SCCM Contributions, 2001
- Presidential Citation for SCCM Contributions, 2002
- Presidential Citation for SCCM Contributions, 2003
- Presidential Citation for SCCM Contributions, 2004
- William F. Rienhoff Scholars Award, 2003
- Presidential Scholar Award, American Society of Anesthesiologists, 2003
- Physician Hero, Health Care Heroes Award, 2004
- The JCAHO and NQF John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Award, 2004
- 100 Most Influential People In The World, Time Magazine, 2008
- MacArthur Fellowship Recipient, 2008
- Rovenstine Memorial Lectureship, American Society of Anesthesiologists, 2009
- Professors Preclinical and Clinical Teaching Award, 2009
- American Medical Association, 1996
- American Society of Anesthesiologists, 1992
- American Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologist, 1994
- Association for Health Services Research, 1997
- Association of University Anesthesiologists, 2002
- International Anesthesia Research Society, 1992
- Society of Critical Care Medicine, 1992
- 2011 National Health Policy Advisory Committee, Academy Health, 2010
- Advisory Board, Surgical Safety National Quality
- Advisory council, Johns Hopkins Medicine Graduate Training Program in Clinical Investigation, 2011
- Anticoagulation Steering Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2008
- Board of Directors, Josie King Foundation, 2008
- Clinical Quality Improvement Committee, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2005
- Co-Chair, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 2001
Patient Safety Committee
- Editorial board, Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management
- Editorial board, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
- Editorial board, Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
- Editorial board, The Patient – Patient Centered Outcomes Research (International Journal)
- Editorial board, ICU Management
- Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008
- HPM Review Committee, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 2011
- Improvement Initiative, Imperial College and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, 2009
- National Quality Forum, Safe Practices Update Maintenance Committee, 2008
- Patient Safety Task Force, National Board of Medical Examiner, 2009
- Section Editor, Journal of Critical Care
Quality and Safety
- Sim Advisory Board, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2007
The Simulation Center
- The Professorial Promotions Committee, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2009
- U.S. Medical and Public Health Research Working Group of the Commission on U.S. Federal Leadership in Health and Medicine at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, 2009
Videos & Media
The Science of Improving Patient Safety
Johns Hopkins Medicine Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., Book on Patient Safety
Lectures and Presentations
Achieving Core Measures in JHM’s Hospitals
Recent News Articles and Media Coverage
“Hospitals Make Progress on the Path to Safety,” U.S. News & World Report, August 13, 2014
“Health Safety Experts Call for Public Reporting of Medical Harms,” NPR, July 18, 2014
“Captain ''Sully'' Sullenberger and Johns Hopkins Tackle Patient Safety,” Forbes, October 2, 2013
“How to Fix Hospital Horror Stories That Start in the ICU,” Marketplace, February 14, 2013