ECRI and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Patient Safety Organization (PSO) have announced Jefferson Health, Philadelphia, as the winner of their 2021 Safety Excellence Award. This first annual award recognizes a PSO member for outstanding patient safety efforts and initiatives.

Jefferson Health’s award-winning initiative detailed how the health system successfully designed and deployed a comprehensive safety management system as a means to clinical integration across their entire health system. They redirected their safety approach from a departmental/project-based approach to a system-wide integrated and coordinated safety management system across 18 hospitals.

“It is an honor for Jefferson Health to be recognized with this Safety Excellence Award,” says Jonathan Gleason, MD, chief clinical officer and executive vice president for Jefferson Health. “It is essential that we approach safety through the implementation of elite safety management systems and tools during this time of tremendous instability in the healthcare workforce. Healthcare must rise to the current unique challenges with a rigorous approach to systematically improving safety that is deeply rooted in safety science. We can’t ask our amazing people to do more or try harder; we need to build them better systems. That has been our approach. Our safety management system is designed to serve people.”

Underpinned by human factor engineering and high reliability principles, Jefferson designed an integrated network of centralized tools and processes, starting with a single event reporting and learning platform during the pandemic. They increased “great catch reporting” by 88%, increased system-wide engagement by launching 185 tiered and escalating huddles, reduced central line associated blood stream infections, reduced the time to launch root cause analysis from 9.4 days to 3 days, and reduced serious safety events.

“It is clear from this initiative that the integration of clinical practices and patient safety efforts can be the key to ensuring the delivery of high-quality and safe care for patients,” says Dheerendra Kommala, MD, chief medical officer of ECRI. “Jefferson Health is well-deserving of our Safety Excellence Award and we are honored to partner with them through our Patient Safety Organization.”

Throughout this process, Jefferson Health used ECRI and the ISMP PSO’s annual Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns report to support their strategy for prospective risk assessments. They also employed ISMP’s best practice recommendations to review serious safety event investigations related to medication safety.

The 2021 Safety Excellence Award presentation took place on Nov. 3 at the ECRI and ISMP PSO Annual Meeting. Two organizations received honorable mentions: Cooper University Health System, Camden, NJ, for COVID vaccination safety, and BayCare Health System Inc., Tampa, Fla., for zero harm in ambulatory care.