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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Beth Israel Deaconess wins safety award for improving obstetrics care

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has won a national safety and quality award for the changes it made in its obstetrics department after the death of a newborn baby in 2000.

The National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission chose the hospital for its John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award in the category of innovation at the national level. The Beth Israel Deaconess program has also been honored by state groups for its efforts.

The baby’s death after a series of medical mistakes spurred Dr. Benjamin Sachs to revamp how the department cared for its patients, from how patients are monitored to how long doctors are on call. Sachs, who will leave the hospital in November to lead Tulane’s medical school, wrote about the case in the Journal of the American Medical Association two years ago, calling it a “burning platform” for “a major reorganization of the way cared is provided.”

The hospital borrowed principles from military and commercial aviation to reduce judgment errors and miscommunication. By its own measure, adverse outcomes fell by 25.4 percent and the severity of these events dropped by 13.4 percent after the new approach was adopted, according to the Joint Commission statement announcing the award.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 02:58 PM
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