News Release: Emory Healthcare , Woodruff Health Sciences

Feb. 10,  2011

Emory Healthcare Honored for Patient Safety Initiatives - Annual Awards Presented by Georgia Hospital Association

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ATLANTA – The Georgia Hospital Association’s Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) has presented Emory Healthcare with a number of awards – including the coveted ‘Circle of Excellence Award’ - in recognition of achievements in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

“Patient safety and the reduction of hospital-borne infections is a top priority of Emory Healthcare, and these awards reflect the efforts our physicians, nurses and staff are making to ensure our patients receive the gold standard of care,” says Emory Healthcare President and CEO John T. Fox. “These projects are created, not by policy, but rather innovative teamwork and collaboration from professionals who are passionate about seeing real change implemented in the care setting. This is the most exciting part of this award program – it recognizes those who work together to find new and better ways of caring for our patients, while setting a standard that others across the country might also follow.”

The Emory Healthcare system was presented with the prestigious Circle of Excellence Award, an honor given to hospitals and health systems that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to quality and patient safety as evidenced by not only winning a patient safety award in 2010, but also by earning three or more PHA Patient Safety Awards within the previous five years.

Emory Healthcare also received a Quality and Patient Safety Award for its project that improved influenza and pneumonia vaccination rates among patients. The project titled, “No Shot in the Dark: A Systematic Approach to Increasing Pneumococcal and Influenza Vaccination Rates Among Hospitalized Patients,” won second place in the Hospital/Health Systems Category.

Emory’s succeeded in its project goal of vaccinating 90 percent of eligible inpatients against the flu and pneumonia. In February 2009, barriers to vaccination administration were identified, and collaboration of vaccine teams and multiple hospital committees throughout the system worked together to improve the process.

“It is essential that hospital patients are vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia, especially those who are considered high risk such as the elderly and those with weakened immune systems,” continued GHA’s Parker. “We applaud Emory Healthcare for taking a leadership role in this effort and are grateful for its dedication to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients.”

Emory University Hospital won first place in the “Greater than 300 Beds Category” for a project that dramatically reduced the occurrence of pressure ulcers (an area of skin that breaks down when one stays in the same position too long) in the intensive care unit (ICU).  In addition to the pain and suffering patients experience when they have a pressure ulcer, the average cost of treating a pressure ulcer is more than $43,000. Several risk factors influence pressure ulcer occurrence, including multi-system organ failure, blood pressure instability, immobility, and malnutrition – all criteria that fit the typical patient population in most ICUs around the country.

“Reducing pressure ulcers is one of the greatest challenges that hospitals face in caring for patients,” says Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) President Joseph Parker. “We applaud Emory University Hospital for its leadership and dedication in this important area and its commitment to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients.”

Emory set a goal of reducing the occurrence of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers to less than 8.02 percent. Using evidence-based and best practice strategies, Emory’s multidisciplinary team developed a successful prevention protocol. Results showed the MICU pressure ulcer rate dropped from 18.8 percent in January 2010 to 0 percent as shown on the April 2010 and July 2010 National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) survey.

The Partnership for Health and Accountability 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.

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Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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