News Release: Emory Healthcare, School of Medicine, Woodruff Health Sciences

Jan. 16,  2009

Emory Healthcare Garners Quality and Patient Safety Initiative Awards

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Emory Healthcare received four awards, including the prestigious Overall Circle of Excellence Award, from the Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) during its annual Patient Safety Summit in Greensboro, Ga.  

The PHA Quality and Patient Safety Awards recognize health care organizations for achievement in implementing evidence-based processes and best practices in reducing the risk of adverse outcomes and improving patient safety and quality.

The PHA was formed in January 2000 and is sponsored by the Georgia Hospital Association. It is a unique statewide collaborative that brings together health care providers with community agencies and individuals to achieve healthy communities. The organization includes representation from groups including hospitals, physicians, state health officials, legislators and businesses.

Emory received the following awards for 2008:

  • Reduction of Sternal Wound Infections
  • Reduction of Ventilator Associated Pneumonia Rates
  • Flu Vaccine Compliance
  • Overall Circle of Excellence Award

Emory Healthcare Chief Quality Officer William A. Bornstein, MD, PhD, who has led the charge for improving quality and safety at Emory since 2002, says Emory's commitment to being a national leader on quality and safety initiatives makes these awards even more special for the entire organization. Under his leadership, Emory Healthcare has been recognized with Quality and Patient Safety Awards from the PHA every year since 2002.

"Our quality promise to our patients is impeccable clinical outcomes, safety and outstanding service," Bornstein says. "We are committed to enhancing our national leadership in clinical quality through our many educational, cultural and process-driven initiatives. This recognition certainly validates our continuing efforts, and it inspires us to continue challenging ourselves to improve each day.

"By maintaining a constant focus on our quality promise to our patients, we recognize that clinical outcomes improve, care is safer, and patients and families experience better service," says Bornstein.

According to Emory Healthcare Chief Nursing Officer Susan Grant, MS, RN, the Circle of Excellence Award is presented only to hospitals that have demonstrated a sustained commitment to quality and patient safety as evidenced by not only winning a patient safety award in 2007, but also by earning at least three PHA Patient Safety Awards within the past five years. The overall program, however, is something Emory looks to each year as a way to continually improve its quality and safety goals.   

"This awards program is an important part of our overall commitment to patient safety and quality, as it allows us to measure our own progress and compare ourselves against state and national benchmarks," says Grant. "For each project we enter, information is submitted that describes specific measures for improvement initiatives; barriers and obstacles encountered, the process and data used to prioritize improvement needs; and even the level of involvement from the front-line staff and physicians to the board of trustees to patient or community partners.

"So while these awards are certainly a wonderful testament to our nursing staff, physicians and employees at Emory Healthcare, they also serve as milestones in our overall journey to continuously improve and provide the very best care possible for our patients in terms of quality and safety," says Grant.  

For more information about Partnership for Health and Accountability or this year's award winners, please visit


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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