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2009 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award Recipients Announced

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Quality Forum (NQF) and The Joint Commission today announced the 2009 recipients of the annual John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards. Honorees were selected in all five award categories. This year's awards feature a new international category.

The honorees, by award category, are as follows:


Gary S. Kaplan, M.D. - Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington

Dr. Kaplan, a practicing physician, is credited for guiding Virginia Mason Medical Center through a transformation that explicitly placed the interests of the patient first. Introducing breakthrough changes derived from the Toyota Production System, Dr. Kaplan spearheaded the creation of the Virginia Mason Production System. The patient safety and quality achievements realized at Virginia Mason as a result of consistently applying these innovative methods has attracted the interest and attention of health care leaders nationally and internationally.


Tejal Gandhi, M.D. - Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Gandhi has been instrumental in increasing knowledge and awareness of safety issues in the outpatient setting and in designing improvement strategies for this setting, particularly through the use of information technology. Her groundbreaking work to better understand the epidemiology of a wide range of ambulatory safety concerns is responsible for drawing national attention to safety issues and potential prevention in this important patient care setting.


Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality - Lansing, Michigan

The MHA Keystone Center used a quality improvement collaborative to focus on interventions to improve patient safety and prevent harm in intensive care units (ICU). Two of the interventions, eliminating central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) and the Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program (CUSP), have produced notable results in eliminating CLABSIs in Michigan ICUs. More than 1,800 lives have been saved, more than 140,700 excess hospital days avoided, and more than $271 million health care dollars saved in the five years since the interventions were first implemented.


Mercy Hospital Anderson - Cincinnati, Ohio

Mercy Hospital Anderson developed and implemented an automated Modified Early Warning System (MEWS), a simple scoring system that is applied to the physiological vital signs routinely measured by nurses. MEWS provides nurses with a tool to evaluate subtle signs that predict the patient's likelihood of deterioration, to increase calls to the organization's Rapid Response Team, and to decrease the incidence of Code Blues.


Noreen Zafar, M.D., F.R.C.O.G. - Lahore, Pakistan

Dr. Zafar's vision is to offer high quality gynecological care and empower women to become good decision makers regarding their own health and their family's health. Dr. Zafar has worked independently to promote wellness among girls and women, without government or any other support. She has overcome many social taboos in her quest and has established health awareness programs related to pre-cancer screening, teenage gynecological health, and reproductive health. Dr. Zafar has initiated nearly a dozen campaigns under the umbrella of the Women's Health Initiative such as "Say No to Osteoporosis," "Beat Menopause," "Prioritize Pink," "Folic Acid Campaign," "Women Matter," and "The Pakistan Group for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology" to improve girls and women's health.

"The Eisenberg Award shines a spotlight on the frontline work that is occurring worldwide to improve health care quality by making a difference in patient safety," says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. "These innovations and public commitments to safe, reliable care serve as an example for what can be achieved."

"This year's winners represent the best of what is possible in improving the safety and quality of health care," says Janet Corrigan, Ph.D., M.B.A., president and CEO, National Quality Forum. "They are at the forefront of their fields and have taken risks to improve health care by addressing the way care is delivered. They have carried on John Eisenberg's commitment to safety and quality and have truly improved health care."

This year's awards will be presented at NQF's Annual Policy Conference: Beyond Measure - The Quality Imperative in Healthcare Reform in National Harbor, Maryland, October 14-15. The December 2009 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety will feature the achievements of each of the award recipients.

The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002 by NQF and The Joint Commission, honors John M. Eisenberg, M.D., M.B.A., former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Dr. Eisenberg was one of the founding leaders of NQF and sat on its Board of Directors. In his roles both as AHRQ administrator and chair of the federal government's Quality Inter-Agency Coordination Task Force, he was a passionate advocate for patient safety and health care quality and personally led AHRQ's grant program to support patient safety research.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including nearly 9,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,200 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. In addition, The Joint Commission also provides certification of more than 600 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

The mission of the National Quality Forum is to improve the quality of American healthcare by setting national priorities and goals for performance improvement, endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance, and promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs. NQF, a non-profit organization ( with diverse stakeholders across the public and private health sectors, was established in 1999 and is based in Washington, D.C.

SOURCE The Joint Commission
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