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JCAHO and NQF announce recipients of first annual John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards

On September 9, 2002, the National Quality Forum (NQF) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) announced the first recipients of the annual John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety Awards.

These initial awards were presented October 1, at the National Quality Forum's Third Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. The awards were established by the NQF and JCAHO to recognize the late Dr. Eisenberg's lifelong work on behalf of improving the quality and safety of health care.

For the 2002 year, winners were selected in each of the award categories, as follows:

  • Individual Lifetime Achievement. Julianne Morath, R.N., M.S., Children's Hospitals and Clinics, Minneapolis, MN. For her tireless and successful work at Children's Hospitals to introduce a culture of patient safety that promotes the sharing of information about errors to improve safety in the care of patients.
  • System Innovation (co-winners). Concord Hospital, Concord, NH. For developing and implementing a structured communications protocol, adapted from human factors science, which broke down hierarchical role boundaries and improved the care of cardiac surgery patients. Veterans Health Administration National Center for Patient Safety, Ann Arbor, MI. For innovation and leadership in developing and implementing a systems approach to error reduction within the VHA's 163 health care facilities.
  • Advocacy. Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Lexington, KY. For national leadership in openly and voluntarily disclosing health care errors to harmed individuals and/or their families.
  • Research. David W. Bates, M.D., M.Sc., Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA. For cutting-edge research in using information technology to measure and improve patient safety, particularly in the area of medication safety.

The new patient safety awards program—announced earlier this year by NQF and JCAHO—honors John M. Eisenberg, M.D, M.B.A., who was director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the time of his death, March 10, 2002. Dr. Eisenberg was one of the founders and leaders of the National Quality Forum and sat on its Board of Directors. In his roles both as AHRQ director and chair of the Federal Government's Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force, he was a passionate advocate for patient safety and personally led AHRQ's new grant program to support patient safety research.

The categories and award criteria established for this first round of Eisenberg Awards were:

  • Individual Lifetime Achievement. Individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and scholarship in patient safety over their careers.
  • Advocacy. Projects or initiatives involving safety-related interventions on behalf of patients. These efforts may be in areas such as legislation, media reporting, or patient advocacy, among others.
  • System Innovation. Projects or initiatives involving successful system changes or interventions that make the environment of care safer. These efforts may involve technology, protocols/ procedures, education, or organizational culture, among others.
  • Research. Projects that involve the scholarly exploration of patient safety-related issues. These efforts may involve systems theory, technology, or data analyses among others.

Awards may be given in each category in any year. However, an award need not be given in each category every year. Eighty-eight nominations were received for the 2002 inaugural awards.

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