For Immediate Release: May 5, 2017
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s (ARMC) Medical Residency Program is part of a patient safety research group that has received the prestigious 2016 John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF) announced the awards recognizing I-PASS research participants during NQF’s 2017 Annual Conference in Pentagon City, Virginia April 4.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum for our work in patient safety and quality care,” said Dominick Zampino, D.O., medical director, Academic affairs and program director, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center’s (ARMC’s) Internal Medicine Residency Program. “Our participation in developing and sustaining the proven I-PASS program demonstrates the commitment of our physicians and staff in providing quality care and services for our patients and community every day.”
The study is taking place under the leadership of Zampino and Aileen Hocbo, M.D., FACP, associate program director, Internal Medicine Residency, ARMC, in the Intensive Care Unit at ARMC Mainland Campus. It will continue through June 17. AtlantiCare’s participation is in the second phase of the study, which uses resident training programs as the main driver of the I-PASS framework.
The study involves using I-PASS framework for hand-offs during residents’ shift changes. As part of the national study group, AtlantiCare has played a significant role in helping develop, study, and implement the I-PASS program.
The I-PASS acronym helps providers focus on:
• I – Illness severity
• P – Patient summary
• A – Action list
• S – Situation awareness and contingency planning
• S – Synthesis by receiver
AtlantiCare plans to implement the I-PASS tool across all units in which residents take part in shift-to-shift changes, as well as for shift changes among its team of hospitalists.
“The concept behind the I-PASS tool is making a safe person-to-person hand-off of patients from shift to shift to ensure we are capturing and sharing the most patient information in the safest fashion,” said Hocbo. “AtlantiCare has long worked on safe hand-off policies. This new framework enhances the way we share information.” Hocbo added ARMC is also sharing best practices in patient hand-offs with other study participants.
“Important information and issues can get missed in handoffs,” explained Zampino. “Through our participation in this study, residents now do face-to-face handoffs in a quiet room. The information giver – or resident handing off the care; the receiver – or resident starting the shift and accepting the patient into his or her care; and the observer, discuss information about each patient. These hand-offs include talk-back confirmation. The receiver summarizes what he or she heard. He or she asks questions, and restates key actions and to-do items related to patients’ care.”
I-PASS is a proven package of interventions created to reduce communication failures during patient handoffs. In a large multi-centre study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, implementation of I-PASS was associated with a 30 percent reduction in medical errors that harm patients. An estimated 80 percent of the most serious medical errors can be linked to communication failures, particularly during patient handoffs. Handoffs occur at all changes of shift and whenever a patient changes location in a hospital.
The July 2017 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety will feature the achievements of each award recipient.
I-PASS is a package of interventions created to standardize communications during patient handoffs.
I-PASS is the most validated and effective method for handoffs in the hospital. In a large multi-center study published in 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine, injuries due to medical errors fell 30 percent following implementation of I-PASS. No other handoff approach has such strong evidence of effectiveness. Over the past seven years, the program has been extensively refined, tested and adapted for use across specialties and disciplines, where it has been well-integrated into workflow patterns.
I-PASS is now being successfully used by more than 50 leading hospitals in the U.S. who have participated in the I-PASS study group.
AtlantiCare, a member of Geisinger Health System, is an integrated system of services designed to help people achieve optimal health. It includes AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare Health Engagement, the AtlantiCare Foundation, and AtlantiCare Health Services. Its more than 5,500 employees and more than 900 physicians serve the community in nearly 70 locations. A 2009 Malcolm Baldrige Award winner, AtlantiCare was also included in Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare in 2010. ARMC became the 105th hospital in the nation to attain status as a Magnet™ designated hospital in March of 2004 and was redesignated a Magnet™ hospital in 2008 and 2013.
 Starmer AJ, Spector ND, Srivastava R et al. Changes in Medical Errors After Implementation of a Handoff Program. NEJM 2014
 BMJ 2016; 353:i2139 (Published 03 May 2016).