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Novant Health & Brunswick Community Hospital dramatically improve hand hygiene and reduce MRSA infections: receive national award
Novant Health & Brunswick Community Hospital dramatically improve hand hygiene and reduce MRSA infections: receive national award
November 12, 2008
Contact:Amy Myers, Public Relations, Brunswick Community Hospital
Phone: 910-755-1244
Supply - Novant Health and Brunswick Community Hospital were recently named a national winner of the 2008 Ernest A. Codman Award from The Joint Commission. The prestigious Codman Award is presented to organizations that demonstrate exemplary performance to achieve healthcare quality improvement.
The health system was honored for its successful efforts to improve hand hygiene compliance and reducing the spread of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.
"Washing hands seems like such a simple task," says Paul Wiles, CEO and president, Novant Health, "but it took a relentless and creative solution to improve our health system's hand hygiene compliance. We were honest with staff, telling them that we could save patient lives if we were all successful. And now we know that our improvement spared patients from the complications of MRSA.
Novant's no holds barred approach to hand hygiene worked. Compliance dramatically increased from 49 percent to 99 percent in just two and a half years and more importantly, the behavior change led to a 53 percent reduction in hospital MRSA infection rates across the healthcare system. That reduction means that 249 patients from 2005 through 2008 did not suffer the medical complications of MRSA.
The hand hygiene campaign began in 2005 and involved every employee. Policies and processes were updated, additional staff were hired to support the initiative and the system used an edgy but honest internal communication campaign that included screensavers, cling stickers, billboards, yard signs and other tactics to educate and help change behavior.
"It's nice to be recognized with this national honor, but it's even more rewarding to share what we learned about improving patient care with other hospitals and health systems," said Wiles. Novant has received inquiries from hospitals around the country and decided to create a Web site where interested organizations can download for free materials used in the hand hygiene project. To date more than 300 hospitals, clinics and healthcare systems have used some or all of Novant's materials to improve hand hygiene in their own facilities. The Web site's URL is
Named for the physician regarded in healthcare as the "father of outcomes measurement," the Ernest Amory Codman Award showcases the effective use of performance measurement by health care organizations to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. A panel of national experts in quality measurement and improvement selected five recipients of the 2008 Awards. Novant Health is the recipient of the award in the multiple organization category. Novant also received this award in 2004 for its work in reducing adverse drug reactions among patients receiving anticoagulation medications, also known as blood thinners.
"The 2008 Codman Award recipients exemplify how performance measurement improves the quality and safety of health care," says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., president, The Joint Commission. "Their achievements demonstrate the progress that can be made when process and outcomes measures are combined into meaningful practices that result in better care for patients."
Novant Health will formally receive the award on November 19, 2008 at The Joint Commission's national conference on Quality and Patient Safety in Healthcare, held in Chicago. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1951, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 15,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. The Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized nationwide as a symbol of quality that reflects an organization's commitment to meeting certain performance standards. If you would like to learn more about the Codman award and past winners, go to and click on Codman Award.
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Novant Health is a not-for-profit integrated group of hospitals and physician practices, caring for patients and communities in North and South Carolina. The Novant Medical Group consists of 1,030 physicians in 350 practice locations. Hospital affiliates include Presbyterian Hospital, Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital Matthews and Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville in the Charlotte area; Forsyth Medical Center and Medical Park Hospital in Winston-Salem; Thomasville Medical Center in Thomasville; Brunswick Community Hospital in Supply; and Rowan Regional Medical Center in Salisbury. Other Novant facilities and programs include two nursing homes, outpatient surgery centers, medical plazas, rehabilitation programs, community health outreach programs and the national MedQuest organization with 92 diagnostic imaging centers in 13 states. Novant Health is ranked 4th nationally among the 2008 Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Networks, according to an analysis by the Verispan health informatics company.
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,100 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, The Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

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