February 7, 2021

In Search of Zero Patient Harm

AdventHealth has named AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Hinsdale in Illinois, United States, as a recipient of the 2020 Triumph Award for Clinical Excellence. 

The prestigious award recognizes AdventHealth facilities that achieve clinical excellence by receiving a four- or five-star rating from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an “A” Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group, and a top quartile mortality ranking from Premier, Inc., a leading health-care improvement company. AMITA Hinsdale was one of 17 AdventHealth facilities across the nation to earn the award by meeting all of these standards. 

“This tells the public that when you get admitted to AMITA Hinsdale, you will receive the highest quality care, and you will be safe,” said Bela Nand, chief medical officer, AMITA Hinsdale and La Grange. 

After AdventHealth announced the award at its 2020 Virtual AdventHealth Clinical Excellence Conference in October, Nand and Mary Murphy, chief nursing officer, AMITA Hinsdale and La Grange, and regional chief nursing officer for AMITA’s South Region, thanked and congratulated AMITA Hinsdale’s physicians and associates, saying their collaborative efforts had led to the recognition. 

“Together, we all spend considerable time analyzing quality and safety data, identifying areas for improvement, and pursuing strategies to achieve clinical excellence, such as our initiatives to reduce hospital-acquired infections and to use eCART and other early warning systems to respond sooner to changes in patients’ conditions,” Murphy and Nand said in a joint memo to physicians and associates. “Although our most meaningful reward is seeing positive patient outcomes, it also is satisfying to know that our efforts have made AMITA Hinsdale a top performer among all AdventHealth hospitals.”  

Kristine Gleason, director, Quality and Patient Safety, AMITA Hinsdale, La Grange, and Bolingbrook, credited the hospital’s physicians, staff, and executive leaders for supporting the efforts to achieve clinical excellence. “All of these pieces have to align well to earn an award like this one,” Gleason said. “It takes ongoing vigilance and teamwork, always challenging yourselves and not being complacent. That’s what our patients expect, and that’s what we expect of ourselves.” 

AMITA Hinsdale also emphasizes deference to expertise, an AMITA patient safety principle that calls for involving experts — including those on a hospital’s front lines — to develop patient-safety strategies and tactics. “Inviting them to the table and understanding their barriers and workflows help drive our quality and safety processes,” Gleason said. “I’m really proud of our organization for doing that. We don’t sit at a table, come up with something, and push it forward. It’s a collaborative approach that emphasizes deferring to our experts and involving our teams.” 

It’s an approach that plays out every day at AMITA Hinsdale, with physicians, nurses, and other front-line staff working together to follow quality and safety protocols and procedures and identify opportunities for improvement. “We develop the plans, protocols, and procedures with our quality and patient safety leaders, and we are very intentional toward decreasing patient harm and improving quality every day,” Nand said.    

Although the Triumph Award celebrates the success of these efforts, Nand and Murphy said, it also serves as a reminder that the journey to zero patient harm is ongoing. “We don’t sit on our laurels and say, ‘OK, we’ve done it,’ ’’ Nand said. “We continuously change, modify, and adapt. Just because we’ve reached a metric, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of our journey.” 

The original version of this story was posted on the Lake Union Herald.