Eisenberg Award presented to ACS NSQIP for quality improvement efforts

Eisenberg AwardThe Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF) have honored the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) with the 2014 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award. The Eisenberg Award was presented to the recipients during NQF’s 2015 Annual Conference, March 23–24, in Washington, DC.

Each year, the Eisenberg Award recognizes the major achievements of individuals and organizations in advancing patient safety and quality of care. The award recipients’ achievements must be consistent with the aims of the National Quality Strategy, led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with an emphasis on better, more affordable care, and healthy people and communities.

Honoring innovation

The Eisenberg Award is presented in three categories: Individual Achievement, National—System Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality, and Local—System Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. ACS NSQIP was recognized at the National level, and the following recipients received an award in the other categories:

  • Individual Achievement—Mark L. Graber, MD, FACP, senior fellow, Health Care Quality and Outcomes Program, RTI International
  • Local level—North Shore-LIJ Health System’s initiative to reduce sepsis mortality

The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002 by The Joint Commission and NQF, honors the late John M. Eisenberg, MD, MBA, former Administrator of AHRQ. Dr. Eisenberg also was a member of the founding board of directors of NQF. In his roles as AHRQ Administrator and Chair of the federal government’s Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force, he was a passionate advocate for patient safety and health care quality and personally led AHRQ’s grant program to support patient safety research.

ACS NSQIP improves quality

The Joint Commission and NQF recognized ACS NSQIP for the many quality improvement benefits it provides to hospitals by assisting in the measurement and evaluation of surgical outcomes and identifying areas for improvement. ACS NSQIP provides hospitals with better data for more targeted decision making, including robust reports with performance information to guide surgical care. Surgeons are able to tailor the program to their hospital’s size and the specific quality improvement interests of their organization.

“On behalf of The Joint Commission, I extend our sincere congratulations to the recipients of the 2014 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for their diligent efforts to improve patient safety and quality of care,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “For the past decade, ACS NSQIP has proven to be an effective measurement system for hospitals and surgeons around the world. As health care continues to expand its quality improvement efforts, it is important to use reliable and valid measurement systems such as ACS NSQIP to drive toward the elimination of patient harm.”

Indelible connection

In thanking The Joint Commission and NQF for the award, ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, said that the ACS “feels an indelible connection to Dr. Eisenberg and his passion for health care quality. Dr. Eisenberg was a visionary early leader of the AHRQ and champion of patient safety. It was grant support from the AHRQ that made the introduction of ACS NSQIP possible.” Noting that ACS NSQIP has proven effective in reducing morbidity and mortality rates in surgical patients and that 600 hospitals now participate in the program, Dr. Hoyt said, “We’re very grateful for the early support we received from AHRQ and proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish in improving surgical patient care in the past decade.”

Dr. Hoyt attributed the success of ACS NSQIP to the dedicated surgical teams at participating hospitals. He also acknowledged the ACS leaders and staff who established the program and worked to ensure its ongoing success, including R. Scott Jones, MD, FACS, the inaugural director of the program; Thomas R. Russell, MD, FACS, Past-Executive Director of the ACS; Bruce Hall, MD, FACS, ACS NSQIP Consulting Director; Edward M. Copeland III, MD, FACS, a Past-President of the ACS who organized a meeting to discuss moving the Veterans Affairs NSQIP into the private sector under the College’s leadership; Karen Richards, who led the ACS NSQIP staff for 10 years; and Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MSHS, MS, FACS, current Director of ACS NSQIP and the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care. Looking toward the future, Dr. Ko said, “As ACS NSQIP enters its second decade, we’ll build upon the firm foundation we’ve laid and continue to advance methods to accurately measure and report surgical care quality through the use of clinical registry data that hospitals must act upon to truly improve their outcomes.”

The Joint Commission will feature the achievements of each award recipient in the May 2015 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

To learn more about the Eisenberg Award, visit The Joint Commission website, and for more information about ACS NSQIP, visit the ACS NSQIP website.

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