Renowned Patient Safety Collaborative Hires First Executive Director

Nov 14, 2011, 17:00 ET from Minnesota Hospital Association

Nancy Kielhofner to lead Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety, which has restructured itself

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A renowned Minnesota collaborative that works to ensure the safety of patients in health-care organizations has hired its first executive director.

With the addition of Nancy Kielhofner, a former Allina Hospital & Clinics executive director of quality, safety and accreditation, the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) is also undergoing a restructure of its governance model by incorporating to become its own independent organization.

Kielhofner began her post Monday at the 11-year-old organization, which has been a voluntary coalition until now. Founded by the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Medical Association, the partnership works to promote patient safety through supportive efforts among all participants of the health-care system. More than 50 organizations representing health-care providers and associations, regulators, accreditors, purchasers, consumers, academia and insurers help create and support MAPS initiatives.

Kielhofner brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to an organization that is stepping up its efforts to meet new challenges, said MHA President and Chief Executive Officer Lawrence Massa.

"Nancy's extensive work advancing patient safety at hospitals in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois will be invaluable as she leads MAPS to the next level," he said. "Her track record in implementing quality improvement strategies and processes, coupled with her absolute passion for patient safety, will serve Minnesota patients well."

Nancy has served as the MAPS culture workgroup co-chair the past year and brings a wealth of direct experience implementing and advancing a safety culture across hospitals and clinics.

During her 32-year career, Kielhofner has served in various positions, most of them quality-related, at Allina; Buffalo Hospital; Hutchinson Area Health Care, Memorial Hospital/Aurora Health in Burlington, Wis.; Aurora Health Care – South Region, based in Milwaukee; and others. She also has worked as a clinical nurse specialist and as a consultant.

Kielhofner, who is a registered nurse, earned a master's degree in administrative nursing and psychiatry at a branch of California State University, and a bachelor's degree in nursing at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. She also completed coursework on training and supervision in community psychiatry and psychotherapy at Harvard University, as well as graduate coursework in nursing training in psychotherapy at the University of California. She also was certified at the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., as an executive safety officer.

Kielhofner will work in Bloomington out of the office for Stratis Health, another key MAPS player.

MAPS' future

Because of MAPS' sustained efforts during the last 11 years, Minnesota is seeing success in achieving patient safety improvements, said MHA Patient Safety Vice President Tania Daniels. The Minnesota community is ready to take MAPS to the next level and expand to other health care settings, Daniels said.

"Going forward, MAPS will continue to lead a diverse stakeholder coalition to collaborate on patient safety issues, ensuring Minnesotans receive the safest care possible in all health-care settings," she said. "But this work needs to be accelerated in order to continue to see progress."

Toward that end, MAPS — with Kielhofner at the helm — will work to develop and disseminate best practices for a safety culture in Minnesota; build a foundation of patient safety knowledge and resources; support measurement and transparency in safety; establish community best practices for communication and coordination; and engage and educate patients about patient safety issues.

Under the organization's new governance structure, Kielhofner will work with the MAPS board, operations committee, member advisory council and workgroups to achieve its aims. Before, the organization implemented its initiatives by in-kind services of MAPS founding organizations and MAPS members. The new structure also brings with it sustained funding from its partners and a new annual membership contribution.

In its first decade, MAPS garnered broad-based stakeholder involvement in its activities. Today, MAPS hosts a highly respected biennial patient safety conference and supports practices that promote the safest care for Minnesotans. Its tools, for example:

  • address medication safety through use of a patient medication list;
  • provide education on a culture of safety and on stakeholders' roles in patient safety; and
  • champion adverse health event reporting.

Kielhofner said she is looking forward to building upon such work.

"MAPS will continue to help Minnesota achieve its triple-aim goals of improving patients' outcomes, improving patients' experiences when they are in health-care facilities and reducing health-care costs," she said. "We can do that by embedding a culture of safety across the continuum of care into everything we do. I have worked in health care across this country and being in Minnesota for the last seven years has been inspirational. The leaders and staff have achieved much success in making care safer for Minnesota patients. We now have an opportunity within all areas of health care to move Minnesota to the next level of safety. It is our moral imperative."


SOURCE Minnesota Hospital Association