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Virginia Mason to Receive 2015 Washington Quality Award for Improving Patient Safety

Virginia Mason will receive a 2015 Washington Award of Excellence in Healthcare Quality for reducing the risk of potentially fatal blood clots in patients.

The award will be presented on May 13 by Qualis Health President and CEO Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, during a ceremony at the Northwest Patient Safety Conference in Lynnwood, Wash. Qualis Health is one of the nation’s leading quality improvement and population health management organizations.

Virginia Mason is being honored for a multiyear project, titled “Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Prophylaxis Journey,” in which clinical teams developed standard processes designed to prevent VTE, the third-most common cause of hospital-related deaths in the United States. (A venous thrombus is a blood clot within a vein. A VTE occurs when a blood clot breaks loose and travels in the blood).

The Virginia Mason project began in 2009 when multiple interventions were put in place, including implementing an evidence-based VTE protocol in all admission orders, establishing real-time visual cues that prompt risk assessment for patients, and improving patient education.

Also, the hospital has achieved a 20-month rolling average of 100-percent compliance with VTE prophylaxis in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU); a 12-month rolling average of 97.4 percent compliance on all non-ICU floors, and dramatically shortened lead times for VTE ordering and patient-risk assessments.

“Providing high quality care and ensuring patient safety are our highest priorities at Virginia Mason,” said Charleen Tachibana, RN, senior vice president for Quality and chief nursing officer at Virginia Mason. “Our work to reduce VTE risks mirrors our commitment to transforming health care by continuously improving quality and safety, and raising the bar for excellence.”

Virginia Mason is one of seven organizations in Washington that are receiving awards from Qualis Health for achievements in improving care quality and outcomes. This is the fourth year Virginia Mason has won the award for excellence; it was recognized for different quality and outcome initiatives in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“Our changing health care landscape requires increasingly vigorous efforts to improve health care delivery and health outcomes in Washington and across the nation,” Dr. Sugarman said. “The Qualis Health Washington Quality Awards celebrate organizations that have transformed health care delivery for their communities – making a real difference for their patients and their families. Their achievements exemplify the aims of improved health care: better quality of care at a lower cost.”

Since 2002, Qualis Health has presented Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality to organizations in Idaho and Washington. The awards recognize demonstrated outcomes that support the three broad aims of the National Quality Strategy: Better health care (for individuals); better health (for populations); and reduced cost through improvement. Learn more about Qualis at www.QualisHealth.org.