Prestigious Award Recognizes BMC Resident Contributions to Improving Patient Safety
Resident physicians at Boston Medical Center (BMC) are part of a patient safety research group that received the prestigious 2016 John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality presented annually by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF), two leading organizations that set standards in patient care. Boston Medical Center participates in the I-PASS Study Group, which represents more than 50 hospitals from across North America dedicated to improving patient safety by standardizing provider communication during patient handoffs to reduce miscommunication that can lead to harmful medical errors.
Patient safety and quality improvement have been a priority for members of the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) at BMC. CIR represents 14,000 house staff nationally, including interns, residents and fellows at BMC and nearby Cambridge Health Alliance.
“It is such an honor to be recognized with the The Eisenberg Award for our role in the I-PASS study group, said Dr. Aravind Menon, an internal medicine resident at BMC. “I have experienced myself how much we can improve the quality of handoffs using this tool, and we are excited to be teaching it to current and future residents.”
I-PASS (a mnemonic for Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situational awareness and contingency planning, and Synthesis by receiver) is a proven package of interventions created to reduce communication failures during patient handoffs. In a large multi-center study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, implementation of I-PASS was associated with a 30 percent reduction in medical errors that harm patients.[i] An estimated 80 percent of the most serious medical errors can be linked to communication failures, particularly during patient handoffs.[ii] Handoffs occur at all changes of shift and whenever a patient changes location in a hospital.
Medical errors in hospitals are a leading cause of death and injury in the U.S. An estimated 80 percent of the most serious medical errors can be linked to communication failures, particularly during patient handoffs. For example, a handoff-related medical error could occur if information about a critical diagnostic test is not communicated correctly between providers at shift change.
As part of the national study group, the Boston Medical Center CIR Quality Council worked with mentors from the Society of Hospital Medicine to identify and train resident champions for the implementation of I-PASS. Through their union, the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), the residents applied for grant funding and secured $50,000 over two years for the project.
To learn more about the BMC initiative, visit QI Gateway.
I-PASS is a package of interventions created to standardize communications during patient handoffs.
I-PASS is the most validated and effective method for handoffs in the hospital. In a large multi-center study published in 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine, injuries due to medical errors fell 30 percent following implementation of I-PASS.1 No other handoff approach has such strong evidence of effectiveness. Over the past seven years, the program has been extensively refined, tested and adapted for use across specialties and disciplines, where it has been well-integrated into workflow patterns.
I-PASS is now being successfully used by more than 50 leading hospitals in the U.S.
[i] Starmer AJ, Spector ND, Srivastava R et al. Changes in Medical Errors After Implementation of a Handoff Program. NEJM 2014 [ii] BMJ 2016; 353:i2139 (Published 03 May 2016).