Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Funds for Patient Safety

The Cardinal Health Foundation awarded $1 million in grant funding for new and innovative programs to improve patient safety at 35 hospitals, health systems, and community health clinics across the country.

Grants up to $35,000 per facility will provide funding for programs to implement creative and replicable methods to improve the quality of patient care. Initiatives funded include targeted screening for methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), strategies to improve hygiene, electronic medical record implementation, and medication safety and reconciliation projects.

The grants were awarded based on the National Quality Forum’s priority areas on eliminating healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), specifically MRSA and C. difficile infection prevention and management. The idea is to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia, surgical site infections, and blood site infections to zero. The goal is to concentrate on medication safety ranging from prescribing correct medications to ensuring the right medication gets to the right patient at the right time, plus assuring that the information is communicated and understood at key transition points.

Several centers received funds to see how electronic records can improve safety for patients. The North Shore University Health System in Evanston, Illinois received funds to specifically reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates by using observation teams along with EMRs to study the problem. The North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Inc., in Great Neck, New York, will use the funds to develop a National Clinical Outcomes Database in Anesthesiology. The Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute in La Jolla, California will develop a system wide standardization of glycemic control protocols.