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John Q. Sherman Award Goes to UW Hospital Epidemiologist and the OpenNotes Collaborative

Thursday, May 15, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Alpert
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Today, winners of the inaugural John Q. Sherman Awards for Excellence in Patient Engagement were honored in award ceremonies at the 16th Annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress in Orlando, FL. Dr. Nasia Safdar, hospital epidemiologist for the University of Wisconsin Hospital, was recognized with the individual award of excellence. The OpenNotes Collaborative won the award for institutional achievement, which was accepted by Melissa Anselmo, national program director for OpenNotes.

Awards were conferred by Standard Register Healthcare and the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute on behalf of, the online community that sponsored the award.

“The work of Dr. Safdar and the OpenNotes Collaborative offer wonderful examples of how patient engagement can improve health care quality and safety,” said Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation and the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute. “Our Institute has been very focused on this issue, and we are pleased to join with Standard Register Healthcare to recognize these efforts.”

Dr. Safdar received individual recognition for her successful initiatives in engaging patients and staff to develop interventions at every level of the care delivery process to reduce hospital-associated infections. Her innovative approaches led to significant reductions in catheter-associated urinary tract infections, clostridium difficile infections and surgical site infections. In addition, health worker hand hygiene rates rose from 50 to 90 percent in one year.

The OpenNotes Collaborative was selected as the institutional winner for its bold, innovative initiative to engage patients through transparency—by providing them access to the visit notes written by their doctors, nurses or other clinicians. A collaborative formed by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts, Geisinger Health in Pennsylvania, and Harborview Medical Center in Washington, the OpenNotes pilot program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was initiated in three cities with 105 physicians, inviting 20,000 patients to access visit notes via a secure e-portal. After one year, a large majority of participating patients reported clinically relevant benefits and minimal concerns, and virtually all patients wanted the practice to continue while physicians reported little or no impact on daily workload, or patient anxiety or confusion. Today, more than three million patients at multiple institutions nationwide have access to their doctors’ notes.

The award competition drew nominations from 23 states. Nominations were evaluated on their relevance to advancing patient engagement, success in engaging patients to drive results, the sustainability of their success, potential for replication, effectiveness in collaborating with others and communicating with their audiences, and their inspirational value.

“The quality of the award submissions was exceptional and the final selection difficult,” said John King, president of Standard Register Healthcare. “In the end, judges were inspired by the way Dr. Safdar and the OpenNotes Collaborative were able to actively engage patients, their families and personal support networks directly into the care process. It is work such as theirs that will bring about the transformation needed to improve the cost, quality and experience of health care.”

Full details of the nominees, their award-winning initiatives, and the competition have been published at


Launched in June 2013, is an online community where providers, patients and patient advocates can come together to learn and share best practices for engaging patients, and participate in thoughtful discussion. Its mission is to improve the patient and family experience and the quality of care, and to create better outcomes by enhancing communication between patients, their advocates and their providers. The John Q. Sherman Award of Excellence in Patient Engagement was created by the EngagingPatients community to recognize and give visibility to the innovative programs and approaches that are increasing patient and family engagement, and delivering better, safer care and outcomes.

About the National Patient Safety Foundation

The National Patient Safety Foundation’s vision is to create a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm. A central voice for patient safety since 1997, NPSF partners with patients and families, the health care community, and key stakeholders to advance patient safety and health care workforce safety and disseminate strategies to prevent harm. NPSF is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. To learn more about the Foundation’s work, visit

About the NPSF Lucian Leape Institute

The NPSF Lucian Leape Institute, established in 2007, is charged with defining strategic paths and calls to action for the field of patient safety, offering vision and context for the many efforts under way within health care, and providing the leverage necessary for system-level change. Its members comprise national thought leaders with a common interest in patient safety whose expertise and influence are brought to bear as the Institute calls for the innovation necessary to expedite the work and create significant, sustainable improvements in culture, process, and outcomes critical to safer health care.

About Standard Register

Standard Register is trusted by the world’s leading companies to advance their reputations and add value to their operations by aligning communications with corporate brand standards. Standard Register Healthcare is a business unit of Standard Register, serving more than 1,800 clients from across the healthcare delivery network, including acute, ambulatory, and long-term care, managed care and the suppliers that support them. A recognized leader in managing patient-centric information and communications, Standard Register Healthcare provides services and technology-enabled solutions to standardize and manage communications to enhance patient engagement, the coordination of care and achieve desired outcomes. More information is available at

Standard Register Healthcare
Media contact: Christine Winters

National Patient Safety Foundation
Media contact: Patricia McTiernan

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