Boston Children's Hospital Awarded John M. Eisenberg Award for Leading the I-PASS Study Group

Tuesday, April 4, 2017 Child Health News
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This prestigious award recognizes contributions to improving patient safety

BOSTON, April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The I-PASS Study Group based out of Boston Children's Hospital has been

named the recipient of the 2016 John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the National Level presented annually by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF). The award, presented during NQF's 2017 Annual Conference in Pentagon City, Virginia, is the foremost award in the United States recognizing contributions to patient safety.

Members of the I-PASS Study Group, led by Principal Investigator Christopher Landrigan, MD, MPH, Project Leader Amy Starmer, MD, MPH, and Pediatric Residency Program Director Theodore Sectish, MD, all at Boston Children's Hospital, designed I-PASS with the goal of improving patient safety through improved provider-to-provider communication. I-PASS is a multi-faceted intervention to standardize and improve handoffs that is built around the verbal mnemonic "I-PASS" (Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situational awareness and contingency planning, and Synthesis by receiver), but also includes a series of training materials, introduction of computerized handoff tools, a faculty engagement and observation program, and a campaign to promote and sustain I-PASS.

"Because we know that miscommunications so commonly lead to serious medical errors, and because the frequency of handoffs in the hospital is increasing, there is no question that high-quality handoff improvement programs need to be a top priority for hospitals and providers across all disciplines," says Starmer. "It's tremendously exciting to finally have a comprehensive and rigorously tested training program that has been proven to be associated with safer care."

Medical errors in hospitals are a leading cause of death and injury in the U.S. An estimated 80 percent of the most serious medical errors can be linked to communication failures, particularly during patient handoffs. For example, a handoff-related medical error could occur if information about a critical diagnostic test is not communicated correctly between providers at shift change.

The group's initial research study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that across 9 hospitals, harmful medical errors (preventable adverse events) fell 30% following implementation of I-PASS.  Subsequent research in more than 50 hospitals has found that I-PASS similarly led to reductions in handoff-related injuries to patients when used by nurses and doctors from across specialties, both in academic and community hospitals. Boston Children's Hospital has served as the lead site for the Study Group research and quality improvement efforts.

"Changing the way that doctors and nurses communicate is a cultural change that takes time and a sustained commitment to improve.  As I-PASS evolved, we recognized that there was a need to create tools and processes that would help hospitals adopt safer handoff practices as efficiently and effectively as possible, across disciplines and units.  To meet this need, we created the I-PASS Institute," says Landrigan. The I-PASS Institute has developed an immersive on-line I-PASS learning platform, tablet- and smartphone-based handoff observational tools, a system for quality improvement data tracking, and a web-based project management portal.  Hospitals wishing to adopt I-PASS use these tools under the guidance of experienced I-PASS consultants, who take them through every step of the adoption, spread, and sustainment process. The I-PASS Institute is now working with hospitals to achieve institution-wide implementations.

"Handoffs of information between clinicians are one of the leading sources of medical errors in hospitals," said Jonathan Finkelstein, MD, MPH, and interim Chief Quality Officer of Boston Children's Hospital. "The I-PASS team has rigorously developed a proven handoff improvement program that has been shown in multiple single and multi-center studies to improve handoffs and decrease adverse events."

"Congratulations to the I-PASS Study Group for their significant and lasting contributions to improve patient safety and quality of care," said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. "Through new and innovative projects such as those implemented by the Eisenberg Award recipients, we can make great strides in reducing preventable patient harm and adverse events. Such quality improvement efforts help solve some of health care's most challenging issues to make a difference in the lives of all patients."

"The Eisenberg Award winners represent some of the best examples in the nation of how individuals and organizations are transforming care delivery, and making it safer and more effective," said Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, president and CEO, National Quality Forum.

The work of the I-PASS Study Group has been supported by the following sources of grant funding: The Harvard Risk Management Foundation (HRMF) / Controlled Risk Insurance Company (CRICO), Boston Children's Hospital Program for Pediatric Safety and Quality (PPSQ), the Department of Health and Human Services (R18 AE000029), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (1K12HS019456, 1R18HS023291-01), the Department of Defense, the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, the Physicians Services Inc. Foundation, Pfizer, the Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics, Boston Children's Hospital Innovation Award, and the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (CDR-1306-03556)

About Boston Children's HospitalBoston Children's Hospital is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 10 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Boston Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children's today is a 415-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. Boston Children's is also the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more, visit our Vector and Thriving blogs and follow us on our social media channels: @BostonChildrens, @BCH_Innovation, Facebook and YouTube

Contact: Bethany TrippBoston Children's Hospital617-919-3110 |

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SOURCE Boston Children's Hospital

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