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Johns Hopkins Patient Safety Experts Awarded $1 Million Grant To Enhance Michigan ICU Operations

October 22, 2003

MEDIA CONTACT:  John M. Lazarou
PHONE:  (410) 502-8902


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has awarded a Johns Hopkins team of patient safety experts a $1 million grant to aid the Michigan Health and Hospital Association with statewide intensive care unit initiatives.

The two-year joint project, designed to improve patient safety and care in the ICUs of more than 55 hospitals in Michigan, will focus on implementing field-tested best practices to reduce the risk of medical errors and enhance patient protections. 

"My team and I look forward to working with MHA to not only reduce hospital-related injuries and lengths of stay in the ICUs, but also to identifying new pathways for patient safety that can benefit hospitals everywhere," says Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., a critical care and patient safety expert at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Hopkins has helped develop and test programs that improve the quality of care and safety in ICUs, and this grant will help make them more broadly available." he added.

According to Pronovost, the project, which requires each medical institution to have a physician, nurse, pharmacist and hospital administrator participate in training, will institute a five-step approach to reduce bloodstream infections, speed up and improve daily patient "rounds" related to patients' recovery time and install new safety programs.  As part of the project, all the participating hospitals will:

  • Develop a comprehensive patient safety program that includes a Web-based error reporting system.

  • Implement the use of specialists who coordinate ICU care and a checklist approach to daily rounds that encourages communications among multiple care givers.

  • Attempt to eliminate bloodstream infections.

  • Improve care of ventilator patients to reduce dependence on the breathing apparatus, a key factor in reducing length of stay and infections.

  • Develop skills to sustain care of patients with severe infections.

"Our model is a combination of evidence based medicine and rapid application of small steps that have been proven to work," says Pronovost.  "Cumulatively, and over time, small things have a huge impact if we identify problems properly and evaluate the 'fixes.'"

As the medical director for the Johns Hopkins Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care, Pronovost leads Hopkins' efforts in patient safety.  Co-author of a study on patient rounds that was published in a July issue of the Journal of Critical Care Medicine, Pronovost says that his main goal is to improve patient quality of life through better communications between health care providers and patients.  "The need for clear team communication among health care providers is imperative and paramount," he says. "Improved communication enhances patient care, decreases length of stay and, most importantly, reduces the risk of errors that can result from poor communication between health care provider and patient."

JHM Web-sites related to patient safety:

Articles about Peter Pronovost that have appeared in Johns Hopkins publications:

Other related Web-sites:
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

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