Kaiser Permanente Honors Quality and Patient Safety Solutions to Advance Care

Initiatives in sepsis prevention, diabetic retinopathy and online member engagement tools garner national recognition

Oct 19, 2015, 15:45 ET from Kaiser Permanente

OAKLAND, Calif., Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of Kaiser Permanente's culture of continuous improvement, the organization annually recognizes outstanding projects across the nation's largest integrated health system that advance quality and patient safety. Recently, three winners were honored for their efforts in supporting patient care through technology, advanced sepsis intervention and improving early detection of diabetic retinopathy. 

The James A. Vohs Award for Quality and the David M. Lawrence Patient Safety Award encourage greater understanding of the critical role quality and patient safety play in defining Kaiser Permanente's care delivery today and in the future. These awards were created with the vision that they would ignite a passion for continuous improvement among the people of Kaiser Permanente and serve as a catalyst for sharing best practices across the organization.

"These awards celebrate Kaiser Permanente's unwavering commitment to delivering high quality care for our more than 10 million members," said Patrick Courneya, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. "The work of our dedicated physicians, nurses and care teams help us to achieve some of the best clinical effectiveness scores, safety ratings and member satisfaction ratings in the nation."

This year, three projects were honored for advancing quality and patient safety through innovative practices to transform care.

  • Member Empowerment through Technology. A new online tool developed in Southern California helps patients change the way they monitor and control their own health. Features include proactive identification of individual care needs and access to health education resources. Among the benefits, users of this technology were 60 percent more likely than non-users to have a Pap smear and four times more to get a colorectal cancer screening.
  • Reducing ICU Admission for Sepsis Care. Sepsis is a life-threatening illness caused by the body's response to an infection, most commonly bacteria, and develops when chemicals released into the blood to fight infection trigger widespread inflammation. Sepsis occurs in more than 750,000 patients in the United States annually, a small percentage of all admitted patients, but contributes to as many as half of all hospital deaths. Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center in the Northwest created a new approach for patients with sepsis, who are otherwise stable and can be successfully treated outside of the ICU. This approach has led to a 50 percent reduction in ICU admissions, while maintaining excellent outcomes for patients with this condition. 
  • Highly Reliable Diabetic Retinopathy Care. Diabetic retinopathy is a potentially vision-threatening complication of diabetes and the leading cause of adult blindness in the United States. In Southern California, a review of diabetic retinopathy diagnosis rates suggested a substantial number of diabetic patients with retinopathy were either undiagnosed or untreated. To address this issue, highly trained experts began reviewing retinal photographs to identify patients who require referral to a specialist, as well as those who require more frequent monitoring. This approach resulted in a doubling of the diagnosis rates for diabetic retinopathy, as well as significant cost savings by reducing unnecessary in-person visits. 

Last week's event in Napa, Calif., was emceed by Dave Clark, news anchor for San Francisco Bay Area's KTVU  "Mornings on Two" program. The awards selection committee includes four highly respected partner organizations:  

"The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has long been a partner with Kaiser Permanente on advancing quality and patient safety for the benefit of all," said Derek Feeley, executive vice president, Institute for Healthcare Improvement. "These awards encourage a greater understanding of the critical role that quality and patient safety has in defining care delivery well into the future for all health care systems."

About the Awards

James A. Vohs Award for Quality
This award recognizes projects that exemplify Kaiser Permanente's focus on providing high-quality, affordable care. Award recipients have implemented successful practices and developed knowledge that can be shared across the organization. James A. Vohs provided 40 years of distinguished service to Kaiser Permanente. He served for 17 years as president, chief executive officer and/or chairman of the Kaiser Permanente Boards of Directors. He created the board's Committee on Quality of Care and emphasized the moral and strategic importance of quality. When Vohs retired, the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals' Boards of Directors established the James A. Vohs Award for Quality.

David M. Lawrence Patient Safety Award
This award recognizes projects that improve the safety of care for patients and accelerate the rate and scope of patient-safety improvements at Kaiser Permanente. During his 11 years as CEO and chairman of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, David M. Lawrence, MD, challenged Kaiser Permanente and the entire health care industry to pursue patient safety as an integral component of high-quality care. On the occasion of his retirement, the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals' Board of Directors established the Lawrence Patient Safety Award to recognize and honor projects that advance the quality of care by improving the safety of care.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

Contact: Marc Brown

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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente