News Release: Emory Healthcare

Jan. 28,  2010

Emory Healthcare Earns State Quality Initiative Awards

News Article ImageFor more information about Partnership for Health and Accountability or this year's award winners, please visit

The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) recently presented Emory Healthcare with numerous awards for quality initiatives, including its prestigious Quality and Patient Safety Award for a project that increased safety for patients outside the intensive care unit (ICU).

"Saving Lives One at a Time," won first place in the Hospital/Health Systems Category. Emory's goal was to increase the rapid recognition and treatment of patients out of the ICU whose conditions are believed to be in a pre-cardiac arrest state. Staff implemented a medical emergency team (MET) in September 2006 in order to provide rapid assistance in the emergency management of a patient as deemed necessary by a nurse or doctor.

In February 2008, it was determined that there were barriers to implementing METs and a two-phase improvement process was developed. During the first phase, clinical staff was debriefed and educated on the implementation process and hypotensive patients (those with abnormally low blood pressure) were screened for severe sepsis. In the second phase, all staff, patients and families were educated and instructions for implementation were displayed in patient rooms.

Results showed a sharp increase in the use of METs - and a corresponding decrease in patient cardiac arrests. In addition, the raw mortality rate within the health care system steadily declined.

"Rapid response is essential in ensuring patients get the care they need," says Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) President Joseph Parker. "We applaud Emory Healthcare for its leadership and dedication in this critical area and its commitment to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients."

The PHA presented Emory University Hospital Midtown with a Quality and Patient Safety Award for a project that reduced patient infection rates. Titled "Getting to ZERO with the Development of a Nurse-Directed PICC Team," the project won first place in the highly competitive infection prevention and control category. The goal of the project was to reduce central line-associated blood stream infection rates associated with PICCs (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter.) Results showed a 50 percent decrease in PICC-associated infections. Further, over a span of 10 months, no PICC-associated infections were reported in the NICU.

For the second straight year, Emory Healthcare has been presented with a Circle of Excellence Award - an honor given to hospitals that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to quality and patient safety as evidenced by not only winning a patient safety award in 2009, but also by earning three or more PHA Patient Safety Awards within the previous five years. These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

The PHA was formed in January 2000 and is sponsored by the Georgia Hospital Association. It is a unique statewide collaborative that brings together health care providers with community agencies and individuals to achieve healthy communities. The organization includes representation from groups including hospitals, physicians, state health officials, legislators and businesses.

For more information about Partnership for Health and Accountability or this year's award winners, please visit


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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