Mason Recognizes Health Organizations for Quality Improvement Efforts

Posted: February 27, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lori Jennings

George Mason’s Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics (CHPRE) last week awarded two organizations its annual Improvement of the Year award, created to recognize quality improvement teams in hospitals or health care systems in the mid-Atlantic region.

The winners were Prince William Hospital, for service excellence, and Lynchburg General Hospital, for clinical excellence.

Prince William’s three initiatives were to improve customer satisfaction scores in scheduling appointments, to increase the number of Medicare patients vaccinated against pneumonia and to promote a culture of safety. Lynchburg General Hospital’s “Save 100,000 Lives Campaign” aimed to reduce the number of ventilator-associated pneumonia cases, improve nursing staff satisfaction and reduce the number of in-hospital deaths.

This year’s submissions highlighted integrated health care campaigns that provided solid outcomes in terms of better patient care and higher-quality treatment efforts.

Farrokh Alemi, professor in the College of Nursing and Health Science, founded the award. “There are many prestigious quality improvement awards that recognize organizations,” says Alemi. “George Mason’s annual award recognizes the individual projects.

“It is recognition for the people in the front lines of health care, trying their best to improve our lives. In my mind, they are the real heroes of our times. The quality of our health care system is based on their sweat and effort. It is time we recognize them for what they are doing for us.”

The award focuses on identifying single projects within an organization or collaborative projects among organizations. Other nominations this year included:

  • Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital’s program to improve issues related to patient safety, medical errors and delays in services

  • Inova Fair Oaks Hospital’s two initiatives to quickly assist patients who are acutely ill and to reduce the number of laboratory blood draw errors

  • Inova Health Source’s in-hospital treatment program to reduce tobacco use among cardiac patients

Nominees benefited from the university’s assessment of their quality improvement efforts, including suggestions for further improvements and access to a database of quality improvement “best practices” case studies of how other institutions have succeeded. Alemi and his team eventually plan to expand their target area from the mid-Atlantic region to include health care organizations nationwide by 2012.

The Improvement of the Year award was launched in February 2004, and the first winners were announced in February 2005. Two organizations were recognized for their contributions to increased health care quality improvement, Inova Health System’s campaign that established a system-wide continuum of care for stroke patients and Centra Health, Lynchburg General Hospital’s project to reduce blood stream infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia.

CHPRE engages a full range of experts and public stakeholders to address today’s national and international issues in health care. The center provides open forums to educate the public about the impact of policy on health care services, and it works to communicate the latest in research knowledge to health care policy-makers. The center provides exposure to research and public policy work for students and professionals, many as they prepare for advanced degrees in health management, law, public policy, information technology, medicine, nursing, health care coordination and other health care professions.

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