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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to Offer ABMS(R) Patient Safety Improvement Program to Network Physicians

Program incorporates key patient safety topics, methods of assessment and improvement activities for individual physician practices

EVANSTON, Ill., March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) announced today that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is offering the ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program to HMO and PPO network physicians as a resource to help improve quality and safety in patient care. BCBSIL is the first health insurance company to adopt the program.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) estimates that nearly 15 million instances of medical harm occur in the U.S. each year, based on data collected over several years. This translates to a rate of more than 40,000 incidents per day. The ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program was designed so that all healthcare professionals can improve upon safety in their clinical environments by identifying and analyzing areas for improvement and implementing changes based on best practices.

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois' mission is to promote the health and wellness of our members and our communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care," said Paul S. Boulis, president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. "In line with our mission, Blue Cross has a history of supporting initiatives that promote quality and patient safety."

With a robust curriculum and performance improvement activities, the Web-based ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program provides a self-paced educational experience which is broadly applicable across medical disciplines and clinical settings. It is presented in these areas:

-- Patient safety scenarios highlight key themes of patient safety that cut across disciplines such as medication errors, handoffs and teamwork

-- Patient safety curriculum comprehensively covers Epidemiology, Systems, Communication and Safety Culture

-- Quality improvement fundamentals provide the tools and techniques to make improvements in practice

-- Patient safety improvement activities introduce changes to areas including hand hygiene, medication lists, allergy lists, critical test results, correct person/site/procedure, safer prescription writing and discharge communication

"We are pleased that BCBSIL has embraced this program as a resource for network physicians to foster a culture that promotes safety and achieves real results," explained ABMS President and CEO, Kevin B. Weiss, MD. "Physicians choosing to participate in this program demonstrate to the public, patients and colleagues that they have taken an important step to make the care they deliver safer."

"BCBSIL is to be commended for its efforts in trying to minimize harm to its members through its support and recognition of ABMS' innovative program," said Allan Korn, MD, chief medical officer and senior vice president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an Association of Independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans (BCBSA). "The ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program is unique in that it places the focus on physicians and other healthcare professionals providing care in physician practice and outpatient settings, rather than solely in the hospital." In a system-wide effort, BCBSA is working towards recognizing physicians who complete the program as part of its national provider data transparency initiative.

The ABMS Patient Safety Improvement Program was planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and is offered through the joint sponsorship of HealthStream and ABMS. HealthStream is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The program supports initiatives including The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement 5 Million Lives Campaign and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety Solutions Nine Life-Saving Patient Safety Solutions.

About ABMS

The American Board of Medical Specialties is the preeminent medical organization overseeing physician certification in the United States. It assists its 24 Member Boards in their efforts to develop and implement educational and professional standards for the evaluation and certification of physician specialists. ABMS Member Boards provide physician certification information to ABMS for its certification verification service programs. ABMS is recognized by the key health care credentialing accreditation entities as a primary equivalent source of board certification data for medical specialists. Patients can visit or call toll-free 1-866-ASK-ABMS to see if their physician is board certified by an ABMS Member Board. For more information about ABMS visit or call (847) 491-9091.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois

With more than 7 million members, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, is the largest health insurance company in Illinois. Started in 1936, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is committed to promoting the health and wellness of its members and its communities through accessible, cost-effective, quality health care. HCSC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

ABMS Contact: Lori Boukas

(847) 563-4531

SOURCE American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
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