“Health care teams across western Pennsylvania have made a commitment to excellence. They are leading by example as they develop safe, efficient, and patient‐centered approaches to solving problems,” said Milton Fine, president and chairman of The Fine Foundation, in a prepared statement. “An important part of this process is the ability to sustain improvement, and to translate success in one area to system wide improvement.”
A regional and national selection committee was commissioned to review the applications and select the winners. However, the outstanding quality of submissions resulted in the selection of a fifth winner.
“An impressive and diverse collection of applications was submitted this year, making the selection process highly competitive,” said Karen Wolk Feinstein, president and CEO of JHF, in a prepared statement. “We were surprised to find that two organizations tied for the Gold Award for Sustained Excellence.”
The Platinum Award went to a team from VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System for “Zeroing In on CHF Readmissions.” The Congestive Heart Failure team was formed to meet the challenges specific to caring for this complex patient population. The team developed a booklet and tracking system for providing focused patient education and standardized discharge and follow‐up instructions. The CHF team reduced the length of stay for initial admissions, and reduced the readmissions percentage to well below the national average. Team members will share a $25,000 award. The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System will receive $5,000 for its support.
Gold Awards for Sustained Excellence were awarded to the following two teams:
St. Clair Hospital for Sustaining Excellence in Patient Flow in the Emergency Department. The St. Clair team has been able to sustain high emergency department patient satisfaction ratings for more than three years, grown the number of people seen by 20 percent, and brought door‐to‐room time from 54 to an average of four minutes. They also have been able to transfer the lessons learned to several other major improvement projects, including the main outpatient center, a newly designed Outpatient Observation Unit, and an inpatient med/surg unit that is testing innovations in nursing models and patient care. Team members will share a $15,000 award. St. Clair Hospital will receive $5,000 for its support.
UPMC St. Margaret for Sustain the Gain: COPD Readmission Reduction. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a complicated illness and is the fourth leading cause of readmissions in western Pennsylvania.
Over the last three years, this team showed a dramatic decrease in COPD readmissions. The principles of the COPD Readmissions program are being applied to reduce readmissions for other complicated, chronic diseases. Team members will share a $15,000 award. UPMC St. Margaret Hospital will receive $5,000 for its support.
The Silver Award went to a team from UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center & Shadyside Hospital 3 East for Creating a Bridge Between Inpatient and Outpatient Care. A collaboration between inpatient Unit 3E and the Family Health Center helped physicians and residents gain a greater awareness of their impact on the patient experience during the inpatient stay, and how that translates to improved follow up and clinic visits. Together, the team brought consistency and standardization to the process while individualizing the education, care and follow‐up. Team members will share a $10,000 award. UPMC Shadyside Family Health Center will receive $5,000 for its support.
The Bronze Award went to a team from North Side Christian Health Center for “Achieving NCQA Recognition as a Patient‐Centered Medical Home. This team set out to become a Patient‐Centered Medical Home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. The recognition process requires that all aspects of practice operations be clearly defined in policies and procedures that demonstrate a commitment to patient centeredness. North Side Christian Health Center achieved level three status, the highest possible level of recognition and was the first FQHC in the Pittsburgh region to achieve this recognition. Team members will share a $7,500 award. North Side Christian Health Center will receive $5,000 for its support.
“The Fine Awards provide a wonderful opportunity to highlight successful models of health care change,” said Feinstein. “The 2011 winners, and those from past years, are making quality improvement a priority and they are seeing positive results for patients, reductions in costs, and improved employee satisfaction.”
Each of the winning projects will be turned into a “Teachable Moment,” a short video developed by the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, a supporting organization of JHF, to spread best practices in quality improvement. The videos will be distributed to over 1,000 health care quality thought leaders in the United States, Canada and Israel. The projects also will be featured on Tomorrow’s HealthCareTM, JHF’s web‐based quality improvement tool designed to address the challenge of moving health care organizations to meet quality, safety and efficiency targets. The 2011 Fine Awards winners, as well previous winners, can be viewed at prhi.org or jhf.org.
The Jewish Healthcare Foundation is a public charity that offers a blend of research, education, grant making and program management to advance the quality of clinical care and health of populations. Its current focus is promoting safety, best practice and efficiency at the front line of care, and building a work force to sustain this. To accomplish its goals, JHF created the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative in 1998, and Health Careers Futures in 2003. JHF is also a founding member of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement.
The Fine Foundation is a Pittsburgh‐based family foundation established in 2007 by Milton and Sheila Fine. The foundation is interested in projects that make a difference in people’s lives; are a good investment in the short and long term; and have an impact in four areas of interest – arts and culture, science and medicine, Jewish life and the enrichment of the Pittsburgh region.