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U-M Health System Honored by American Hospital Association for High Quality Care and Patient Safety
Date:7/24/2008

oal is to be the safest hospital in the country, and we're always working toward that. This is a nice recognition for that -- and a reminder that in health care, safety and quality are closely connected."

The AHA's letter informing UMHS of its finalist status praised what the judges had seen on their visit, including examples of what the Health System's leaders call the Ideal Patient Experience.

To create the ideal experience for each of the hundreds of thousands of patients who turn to UMHS each year, the entire U-M health care community is working toward seven aims: creating a "medical home" for each patient to coordinate care, making patients the ultimate decision maker, promoting standardization, making safety a priority, creating an environment of customer service, coordinating care around a patient's needs, and providing facilities and amenities that promote well-being.

In summary, the AHA award citation notes that U-M is "at the forefront of university hospitals in quality improvement." The judges also mentioned that "the strong nursing leadership, the collaborative/teamwork approach, and the active engagement of residents and students in patient safety and quality improvement were also striking."

Says Strong, "To accomplish these goals, we have to have a culture of safety -- that is, being open with each other about issues, errors or potential mistakes. We also have a culture of improvement, meaning that we're never satisfied with what we do and believe that we can always take the next step in improvement. And we have a culture of measurement, using evidence-based medicine as a sure path to improvement."

The Health System's willingness to invest financially in initiatives and infrastructure that support these cultures has also played a key role, he says.

But ultimately, he explains, it's the leadership of physicians and nurses, and the wholehearted participation of every member of the patient care, support and admini
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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