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Patient Safety & Quality Improvement

BIDMC honored for innovative patient care initiatives

The department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is a national leader in the movement to systematically improve patient safety and health care quality. In 2007, the department was the proud recipient of the prestigious John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from the Joint Commission. The award recognizes the department's leadership and dedication to improving the quality of health care and patient safety through innovation. In addition to this award, Blue Cross Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) awarded the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology as the first recipient of its Health Care Excellence Award in 2007. The award, which carries a $100,000 prize, was created to recognize exceptional achievement in improving the safety and effectiveness of health care in Massachusetts.

Both awards recognize the groundbreaking approach to reducing medical errors in the BIDMC Obstetrics unit, an initiative which was launched following a tragic case in 2000 in which a series of errors resulted in the loss of a patient's baby. Following this case, Beth Israel Deaconess's Obstetrics unit began working with the Department of Defense and Harvard's Risk Management Foundation to apply the principles of Crew Resource Management, used to prevent errors in the military and in commercial aviation, to the field of obstetrics. It was the first obstetrics unit and one of the first health care operations in the country to adopt such an approach. The Obstetrics Department also made major changes in the way it monitored patients. Previously, when doctors and nurses ended their day they provided updates only on the patients under their care to the next shift. Now, the entire obstetrics staff is knowledgeable about all patients. Because there are no accepted, clinically relevant outcomes in obstetrics, the department also developed an Adverse Outcomes Index, a measurement tool to evaluate obstetrical care.

Today, Beth Israel Deaconess has the lowest adverse event score of any comparable tertiary hospital reporting to the National Perinatal Information Center, a nonprofit organization that collects national data. As a direct result of the obstetrics unit's work, there are now statewide initiatives in Massachusetts, Maryland, and the District of Columbia to introduce obstetrical team training. The model is replicable and widely adaptable for other health care organizations. Dr. Sachs and a team of researchers and clinicians are leading the national movement for patient safety, speaking at national meetings in order to bring our brand of safety to the national forefront.

Contact Information

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
East Campus
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215