Upson Awarded for Patient Safety

Upson Regional Medical Center kicks off the New Year with two statewide awards for excellence in patient safety.

Upson is recognized with first place in the 2011 Georgia’s Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) Quality and Patient Safety Awards for Maintaining Zero Hospital-Associated Infections in its Intensive Care Unit and first place for implementation of its bedside medication verification (BMV) system.

Chief Clinical Officer Josee Gill said, “We believe it is our responsibility to deliver quality care in a safe environment without causing any additional pain or suffering for our patients or their family members, and at Upson, our patients receive better care as a result of our efforts to do no harm.”

Upson has proven successful in keeping its ICU patients safe from hospital-acquired infections, and Upson is awarded first place statewide for achieving zero cases of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia for 53 months and zero Central Line Infections for 32 months.

“By placing the patient at the center of all decisions, it is possible to eliminate preventable harm,” Gill said. “No one wants to inadvertently make a patient sicker, which is why our Intensive Care staff follow explicit checklists to ensure our patients are safe from infection, every patient, every time.”

Upson also received a statewide award among hospitals of similar size for efforts to eliminate medication errors.

When it comes to receiving medications in the hospital, there’s no room for error. As a patient, you need to be assured of your “five rights” —that you will be the right patient, who will receive the right medication, the right dosage by the right route and at the right time. To that end, Upson uses a bedside electronic system that features bar code scanning technology (BMV) whenever medications are dispensed.

Chief Executive Officer, David Castleberry says this award is not about having the technology; it’s about how nurses on the frontline at Upson use it to keep patients safe. “Lots of hospitals have BMV, very few hospitals use the technology as consistently as we do at Upson, and we have scan rates right at 100% because our caregivers take the time to scan for patient safety.”

In addition to this statewide recognition, Upson is becoming known in hospital circles as a best practice for service and quality. “At Upson, our employees put patients first and lead with a culture of safety,” said Gill. “A culture of safety is a culture that requires both teamwork and focus and the understanding that "we’re all in this together for one reason: the patient.”

PHA is a subsidiary of the Georgia Hospital Association and recognizes patient safety as its top priority.

“Being recognized by PHA is a tremendous honor,” said Castleberry. “It means that Upson has demonstrated our commitment to our patients by delivering safer and higher quality health care. That’s health care with true value; the kind of health care that we all want and expect from every hospital.”

A full abstract detailing Upson’s progress will be published later this year in Insights, which is PHA’s web-based hospital report.