Christiana Care earns top patient safety education award from American College of Physician Executives

Christiana Care earns top patient safety education award from American College of Physician Executives

Christiana Care is the winner of the 2014 Leape Ahead Award from The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE). This national award recognizes Christiana Care’s multipronged approach to teaching medical students, residents and faculty the principles of patient safety and quality.

“Our programs reflect an institutional priority to build a culture of learning that emphasizes patient safety, professionalism, collaboration, transparency and the importance of the individual learner,” said Hugh R. Sharp Jr. Chair of Medicine Virginia U. Collier, M.D., MACP, who penned the award-winning application. “Our training goal is that the principles of patient safety and team-based care will be inculcated so deeply that learners will instinctively follow best practices without even knowing they are doing so.”

Virginia U. Collier, M.D., MACP
Virginia U. Collier, M.D., MACP

Working collaboratively, Christiana Care’s departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality, the Learning Institute, the Value Institute, Academic Affairs, Organizational Excellence, and the Center for Transforming Leadership fashioned an approach to training residents, medical students and faculty that combines didactic and experiential learning in patient safety and interdisciplinary team-based care.

“The evidence is clear: Patient safety is improved when health care professionals work as a team.”

The Leape Ahead selection committee applauded the Christiana Care team for exemplifying the spirit of the award, which honors medical schools and teaching hospitals, which are making extraordinary strides in promoting cultures of leadership, professionalism, communication and teamwork among medical students and residents.

“The evidence is clear: Patient safety is improved when health care professionals work as a team,” said Peter Angood, M.D., FRCS(C), FACS, FCCM, ACPE’s president and CEO. “Christiana Care should be commended for recognizing this need and for its role in taking the initiative to shape the physician leaders of tomorrow.”

Elements of Christiana Care’s multipronged Quality Improvement and Patient Safety program include:

  • Experiential, project-based performance improvement education: Residents are required to participate in the 12-week Achieving Competency Today course, initially launched with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and enhanced and expanded by Christiana Care. ACT emphasizes interdisciplinary/interdepartmental, team-based, learner-generated performance improvement projects. Since 2004, 406 learners have participated in ACT courses and have produced 65 rapid cycle performance-improvement projects, many of which have resulted in system-wide improvements.
  • Resident leadership elective: Residents can participate in a two-week, multi-departmental, intensive elective that combines didactic and interactive lectures, field trips and discussions with system and state-level leaders and ongoing post-course support.
  • Train-the-trainer initiative: A nine-month didactic and project-based curriculum in advanced quality and safety improvement science for faculty.
  • Administrative fellowship in patient safety and quality: One fellow per year participates in residency curriculum development while focusing on experiential value-based projects, such as appropriate use of telemetry in hospitalized teaching patients.
  • Simulation: Residents, students and student nurses collaborate in staged patient-care scenarios to practice difficult patient management, team-based competencies and inter-professional communication skills.

The May/June issue of ACPE’s Physician Executive Journal features an article describing Christiana Care’s multipronged program in detail.

Robert M. Dressler, M.D., MBA
Robert M. Dressler, M.D., MBA

Robert Dressler, M.D., MBA, FACP, Medicine’s vice chair and director of Patient Safety and Quality, accepted the award, presented on April 25, at the ACPE’s Annual Meeting and Spring Institute in Chicago.

“Our primary targets for the program were resident learners, but our intent was to reach out to all those interested in learning more about quality and safety science to help them in their individual job settings,” he said. “Our program is an essential element in our toolkit for reducing patient harm and achieving high reliability.”

This is the third year ACPE has presented the Leape Ahead Award, which honors the dedication of Dr. Lucian Leape toward the advancement of efficient, effective and caring delivery of medicine in the U.S. It also underscores ACPE’s strong commitment to patient safety and quality, as well as the lifelong development and support of physician leaders.