Mason Announces 2006 Health Care Quality Improvement Awards

Posted: March 5, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Lori Jennings

Mason’s Department of Health Administration and Policy in the College of Health and Human Services announced the three winners of its annual Improvement of the Year Award.

This competitive award was created to recognize teams from mid-Atlantic health organizations that have significantly improved the quality of care in their hospitals or health care systems.

This year’s Improvement of the Year award winners are:

  • Centra Health Lynchburg General Hospital (Lynchburg, Va.): Responding to a higher-than-average rate of delirium amongst patients in its intensive care unit (ICU), Lynchburg General Hospital created an education program to improve its early recognition and treatment of ICU delirium. Consequently, delirium rates dropped to 1.1 percent, resulting in a significant decrease in patient length of stay in the ICU.
  • Union Hospital (Elkton, Md.): With a high proportion of new nurses leaving the hospital within the first 12 months of hire, Union Hospital responded by creating an interdisciplinary task force that improved nursing orientation and created a new hire support program. The intervention has decreased nursing turnover the first year of employment by 47 percent, saving the hospital $900,000 annually.
  • Fauquier Hospital (Warrenton, Va.): Fauquier Hospital developed criteria for the early identification of patients in distress so staff could more easily and rapidly detect patients at risk for cardiac arrest. After implementing the criteria, code blue calls at the hospital fell by 47 percent.

A panel of judges, including representatives from Mason and Georgetown University, and the Delmarva Foundation of the District of Columbia, evaluated all nominations and selected the winners for this year’s award in three categories of health care quality improvement: clinical excellence, excellence in service, and health care system risk reduction.

The award was originally launched in 2004 as a class project in the Process Improvement course taught by Farrokh Alemi. Today, under the auspices of the Department of Health Administration and Policy, the awards publicly acknowledge improvement teams dedicated to making advancements in patient care safety and quality.

Although other industry recognition awards exist, the Improvement of the Year Award is unique in focusing on project-by-project reviews across various organizations. Mason is working to expand the award to include participation by health care organizations nationwide by 2012.

Taylor-Oden Enterprises is the founding sponsor for the award. Says CEO Les Taylor, “We are inspired by the hard work and progress being made by Mason graduates and others in our local health care organizations, and we are pleased to be the first business in this region to come forward to help ensure the long-term success and expansion of this award.”

Taylor-Oden COO Carolyn Taylor adds, “It is vital that businesses become involved in helping to bring about improvements in health care quality. Sponsoring the event is a great way for us and other businesses to do that and recognize the impact of innovations coming out of George Mason’s Health Administration program.”

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