In July, four U.S. hospitals were recognized for their leadership and innovation in quality improvement (QI) and safety—as defined by the Institute of Medicine (IOM)—through the American Hospital Association’s McKesson Quest for Quality Prize.2 Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston was awarded the overall prize for its sustainable approach and hospitalwide commitment to pursuing IOM’s quality aims for safe, effective, efficient, timely, patient-centered, and equitable health care.
The award, presented since 2002, is supported by healthcare-services company McKesson Corp., based in San Francisco.
Key to BIDMC’s success is the clear message of its top leadership’s commitment to quality and a strong partnership with the medical community, says Kenneth Sands, MD, MPH, BIDMC’s senior vice president for healthcare quality. “That includes an official vote by the hospital’s board to adopt IOM’s definition of quality. And everyone here participates in the quality process,” he says.
Each year, the hospital holds a quality symposium featuring QI projects solicited from across the organization. This year’s poster contest recognized three winners, one from the finance department, one from an ICU, and a third from the hospital cafeteria (it tracked the percentage of days that fresh fish is offered as a healthy menu choice).
“To see these three winners standing together on the podium sends a powerful message,” Dr. Sands says. “These are not quality-improvement experts, but front-line staff.”
Another quality initiative involves a hospitalist leader trying to promote “conversation readiness” for a hospital staff’s ability to respond to patients’ expressed desires to complete advance directives, then make sure these documents get captured in the medical record.
Larry Beresford is a freelance writer in San Francisco.
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