The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF) presented the 2018 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards, which recognize the achievement of health care professionals and organizations that have made significant and long-lasting contributions to improve patient safety and quality of care, earlier this spring.
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), Chicago, IL, received the Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the National Level for its extraordinary efforts as a trailblazer and industry leader in sophisticated performance measurement and consumer-friendly public reporting.
The centerpiece of the STS quality program is the STS National Database, which was developed in 1989 and is considered to be one of the premier clinical data registries in health care. Essential features include the following:*
- Subspecialty registries for adult and pediatric cardiac surgery, mechanical circulatory support, and general thoracic surgery
- Clinician-designed, explicitly defined, standardized data elements
- Broad national penetration among providers
- Exceptional data accuracy, verified by an external audit
Using these data, STS developed risk models and NQF-endorsed composite performance measures for all of its subspecialties and major procedures, results of which providers use to guide their improvement initiatives.
Furthermore, in an effort to facilitate consumer choice, STS introduced an outcomes-centric, voluntary public reporting program in 2010 that has achieved high participation rates.
The value of the STS quality program is demonstrated by longitudinal tracking, which documents sustained reductions in adverse outcomes and near-universal adoption of desirable care processes. The STS quality program has introduced numerous interventions that have significantly advanced quality and safety in cardiothoracic surgery.
Other award recipients
The two other winners were as follows:
- Brent C. James, MD, MStat, received the Individual Achievement Award for his passion as a global leader in bringing quality improvement science and methods to clinical care for more than three decades.
- BJC HealthCare, St. Louis, MO, received the Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the Local Level Award for a system-wide approach to improving patient safety through reductions in preventable harm. In 2008, the 15-hospital health system launched a five-year, system-wide initiative to reduce preventable harm in a variety of categories, including falls with serious injury, pressure ulcers, adverse drug events, health care-associated infections, and venous thromboembolism. By implementing practical interventions for categories of harm, the health system had sustained success in improving outcomes, with a 75 percent reduction in preventable harm over 10 years.
Created in 2002 by The Joint Commission and the NQF, the annual awards program is named for John M. Eisenberg, MD, MBA. An advocate for health care quality improvement, Dr. Eisenberg was a founding member of NQF’s board of directors and the former Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality administrator (1997–2002). He dedicated his life to ensuring care was based on a strong foundation of research while considering the patient’s needs and perspectives.
An awards ceremony recognizing the winners took place March 25 at NQF’s 2019 Annual Conference in Washington, DC. For more information about the awards, past winners, and Dr. Eisenberg, visit The Joint Commission website.
The winners also will be featured in an upcoming issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Dr. Pellegrini and do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Commission or the American College of Surgeons.
*The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. STS National Database. Available at: www.sts.org/registries-research-center/sts-national-database. Accessed June 26, 2019.