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Johns Hopkins Patient Safety Program Receives Healthcare Informatics Magazine's 2009 Innovator Award - 05/20/2009

Johns Hopkins Patient Safety Program Receives Healthcare Informatics Magazine's 2009 Innovator Award

Release Date: May 20, 2009

May 20, 2009- Johns Hopkins Medicine’s patient safety program has earned second place in Healthcare Informatics magazine’s eighth annual Innovator Awards.

The award was given to Johns Hopkins for its program called Collaborative Partnerships and Interventions to Promote and Ensure Patient Safety. Hopkins was among more than 60 nominees voted on by the magazine’s readers.

The Detroit Medical Center took first place, and the BayCare Health System in Tampa Bay, Florida, was third.

The Hopkins safety program fields a team of 230 physicians, nurses and administrators, many partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine executives, who conduct research, implement evidence-based changes to health care practices and systems, and rigorously measure safety progress.

A key component of the Hopkins program is the CUSP, the Comprehensive Unit Safety Program, which pairs senior JHM executives with clinical departments or units to serve as “champions” and facilitators of safety programs. While most lack formal medical training, these safety excecutives become a regular part of a clinical unit’s operations, meeting with frontline staff on a regular basis to get firsthand knowledge of care and safety issues.

The organized concept behind CUSP is that the executives have the clout to cut red tape quickly direct needed resources and speed change. Since CUSP’s inception in 2003, about 35 Hopkins leaders have “adopted” clinical units. 

“The CUSP program has provided me, and members of our IT team, with an opportunity to focus on the real reason we chose to work in health care,” says Stephanie Reel, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s chief information officer and vice president for information services. Speaking of her experience as a CUSP executive with the pediatric intensive care unit, Reel notes that she and her team were given an opportunity to listen to nurses and physicians under actual work conditions, interact with patients, and discuss challenging issues. “We have found ways to work together to define and implement real-world solutions to tricky problems,” she says. “The rewards are far greater than I ever anticipated.” 

Allied with the safety program is the Johns Hopkins Medicine Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care, which provides staff with the tools and means to correct system flaws that could negatively impact patient care and safety. 

“What we found is that flaws in operational systems often are at the root of many safety issues,” says Richard “Chip” Davis, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care.  “Simply making changes in the way prescriptions are ordered, for example, can greatly reduce errors and unintended consequences.”

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