Sparrow among leaders in patient safety and quality efforts

Published: Oct. 21, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - A report released today highlights patient safety and quality improvements Sparrow is accomplishing in partnership with the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA).

The 2011 MHA Patient Safety and Quality Annual Report: Hospitals Putting Patients First details efforts by Sparrow and other Michigan hospitals to prevent infections, save lives, introduce efficiencies, save millions of health care dollars, empower consumers and more.

"At Sparrow, we take patient safety and quality seriously and strive to provide the right care to everyone, every time. It is embedded into what we do every day," said Sherry Taunt, Sparrow Vice President of Quality and Performance Improvement. "Our voluntary partnership with the MHA Keystone Center and adoption of evidence-based interventions has led to improvement in our care."

Highlights of the MHA report available for download at include:

  • From January to December 2010, hospitals participating in the MHA Keystone: Surgery collaborative completed 389,751 surgical briefings and 378,668 debriefings to improve communication and increase patient safety before and after surgical procedures. At Sparrow, the surgical team completes a patient briefing before surgery, similar to a pre-flight checklist before takeoff, as well as debriefing immediately following the procedure to identify problems and discuss the patient's post-operative needs. The goal is to improve safety and team work. In 2011, over 99 percent of surgeries at Sparrow had a briefing/debriefing completed.
  • Sparrow also is now participating in a national initiative called Project JOINTS to enhance existing efforts to prevent surgical infections in patients with hip or knee surgery. Michigan is one of only five states in the nation to collaborate on this Institute for Healthcare Improvement program.
  • MHA Keystone: Obstetrics reduced elective inductions of births before 39 weeks from roughly 2.9 percent to 1.7 percent and reduced elective cesarean sections before 39 weeks from nearly 17.5 percent to 11.5 percent from March 2010 to March 2011. The initiative is intended to reduce election inductions to eliminate preventable harm to babies and their mothers due to complications of labor. Sparrow's rate of elective inductions before 39 weeks is four times less than the statewide rate. Sparrow's elective cesarean section rate for babies less than 39 weeks gestation is less than half the statewide rate.
  • MHA Keystone: Emergency Room collaborative experienced a 29 percent decline in the rate of patients who left without being seen from May 2010 to May 2011. Sparrow Hospital ER was recently recognized for reducing the number of untreated patients, lengths of stay, and waiting times. Sparrow has reduced the number of patients leaving without treatment from 2.9 percent in 2010 to 1.8 percent. This is better than the national average of 1.9 percent. Sparrow has also significantly reduced the amount of time patients in the ER spend waiting to be admitted to the hospital, or waiting to be discharged. Sparrow, on average, successfully completes inpatient treatment on over 300 patients a day and safely discharges them back to their homes.

Through voluntary data submission by member hospitals and health systems, the MHA Patient Safety Organization (PSO), a patient safety data collection and analysis organization, has identified areas of care - medication errors, surgical events and falls - that require improvement and has begun to take action to address these and other issues.

"It is imperative that we continue to improve communication and promote transparency among healthcare providers to reduce the incidence of events that adversely affect patients," Taunt said. "By voluntarily participating in the MHA PSO, Michigan healthcare providers can gain valuable insight into adverse events and share best practices to prevent their reoccurrence."

"Ultimately, through a collaborative approach of reporting and analyzing adverse events, higher quality outcomes will be achieved and the patients in Michigan will be safer," she said.