A Publication of WTVP

In late July of this year, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) announced its IMPACT network-which now has more than 100 health care member organizations-has made dramatic improvements in patient care. Created in 2002, IMPACT is a network of health care organizations, including some of the finest hospitals and medical practices in the world, that are joined together under IHI’s leadership to create a community of service providers committed to significantly improving patient care. In its news release, IHI cited OSF Healthcare System as one of the outstanding examples of IMPACT’s success with the following update:

Patient Safety-OSF HealthCare, which has six hospitals in Illinois and Michigan, has significantly reduced the number of adverse drug events (ADEs), from 4.0 to 1.2, per 1,000 doses throughout the entire system. It has designed and implemented a wide array of changes to reduce ADEs, ranging from an "ADE Hotline" to a pharmacy-based Coumadin dosing protocol. Teams are also working on a number of other safety initiatives including enhancing and maintaining a culture of safety and improving medication reconciliation.

Making a tremendous impact with his leadership is John Whittington, M.D., OSF Healthcare System’s clinical informatics coordinator/patient safety officer, one of only two IHI Safety Scholars in the entire U.S., serving on the faculty of IHI’s Collaborative for Improving Patient Safety. Dr. Whittington has facilitated unique patient medication safety accomplishments at all six OSF hospitals during the past 18 months. Not only have patients at the OSF facilities benefited from this particular effort, but many other patients throughout the U.S. and beyond our borders are, and will be, implementing the protocols developed by Dr. Whittington’s outstanding interdisciplinary and inter-organizational teams.

Invitations to present this OSF approach, including the cultural shifting that’s required, the new processes needed to increase patient safety, and the results illustrating dramatic improvements, have come from local, state, and national health care organizations, as well as various employer groups. Members of the OSF system-wide patient safety collaborative steering committee have given more than 40 presentations during the past 18 months including the National Managed Care Congress in Washington, D.C.; IHI’s Spring Leadership Meeting in Boston; the Healthcare Management Council’s 2003 Annual Partner Conference in Raleigh, N.C.; the Missouri Society of Health-System Pharmacists in St. Louis; and the Illinois Hospital Association regional meetings in Chicago and Springfield.

Additionally, numerous patient safety articles have been written and published-or will be soon-in scholarly journals and in various newsletters by Dr. Whittington and OSF team members. The article gaining the most visibility since its posting in early September on the "WebM.D." Web site was the contribution by Kathy Haig, R.N., director of Quality Resource Management at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, entitled "Journey Towards Safety-A Cultural Evolution."

Too often individuals aren’t recognized in their own communities for the wonderful works they do. Dr. Whittington’s contributions have had a tremendous impact on administrative, physician, and nursing leadership within OSF Healthcare System because of his collaborative approach. The benefit of Dr. Whittington’s efforts is that patients will have safer hospital experiences and better outcomes. Because of the leadership of Dr. Whittington and OSF teams, hospitals throughout Illinois and the U.S. will be better able to provide safe, cost-effective patient care that produces higher patient and family satisfaction. IBI