University Health Care System
(706) 722-9011


University Health Continues Mentor Hospital Outreach September 13, 2007

CONTACT: Rebecca Sylvester
Phone: 706/828-2394
Mobile: 706/840-5758

AUGUSTA – Ga. – Sept. 11, 2007 – Hospitals across the country are requesting information on how University Hospital’s approach to two major quality initiatives has improved patient outcomes.

University is a Mentor Hospital for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in the areas of Preventing Ventilator Assisted Pneumonia and Deploying Rapid Response Teams, two areas that have gained widespread attention in recent months.

As a Mentor Hospital, University has volunteered to provide support, advice, clinical expertise and tips to hospitals seeking help with their implementation efforts, according to Heidi Nelson, director of Performance Improvement and Patient Safety for University.

“Hospitals working together to improve quality is a win-win situation for patients and hospitals,” Ms. Nelson said.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) announced in December 2006, with the support of prominent leaders in American health care, a national campaign to dramatically reduce incidents of medical harm in U.S. hospitals. The 5 Million Lives Campaign asks hospitals to improve the care they provide in order to protect patients from five million incidents of medical harm over a 24-month period, ending December 9, 2008.

This campaign builds upon the success of the 100,000 Lives Campaign, in which 3,100 participating hospitals reduced inpatient deaths by an estimated 122,000 in 18 months through overall improvement in care, including improvement associated with six interventions recommended by the initiative.

The 5 Million Lives Campaign promotes the adoption of 12 improvements in care (detailed below) that can save lives and reduce patient injuries, and it aims to enroll even more hospitals than participated in the previous Campaign.

“The goal of protecting patients from five million incidents of medical harm in two years is ambitious, but patients and families deserve no less,” said Campaign Manager and IHI Vice President Joe McCannon. “We’re inspired to know that so many courageous hospitals and health care leaders share our commitment to addressing this problem. This is the next big step in a major national effort to completely transform the quality of the care Americans receive.”

The following are challenges to hospital in an effort to improve patient care quality:

  • Prevent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection ... by reliably implementing scientifically proven infection control practices throughout the hospital.
  • Reduce harm from high-alert medications ... starting with a focus on anticoagulants, sedatives, narcotics, and insulin.
  • Reduce surgical complications ... by reliably implementing the changes in care recommended by the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP).
  • Prevent pressure ulcers ... by reliably using science-based guidelines for prevention of this serious and common complication.
  • Deliver reliable, evidence-based care for congestive heart failure … to reduce readmissions.
  • Get boards on board … by defining and spreading new and leveraged processes for hospital boards of directors, so they can become far more effective in accelerating the improvement of care.
  • Deploy Rapid Response Teams … at the first sign of patient decline – and before a catastrophic cardiac or respiratory event.
  • Deliver reliable, evidence-based care for acute myocardial infarction … to prevent deaths from heart attack.
  • Prevent adverse drug events … by reconciling patient medications at every transition point in care.
  • Prevent central line infections … by implementing a series of interdependent, scientifically grounded steps.
  • Prevent surgical site infections … by following a series of steps, including reliable, timely administration of correct perioperative antibiotics.
  • Prevent ventilator-associated pneumonia … by implementing a series of interdependent, scientifically grounded steps.

About the IHI
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement ( is a not-for-profit organization leading the improvement of health care throughout the world. Founded in 1991 and based in Cambridge, MA, IHI is a catalyst for change, cultivating innovative concepts for improving patient care and implementing programs for putting those ideas into action. Thousands of health care providers, including many of the finest hospitals in the world, participate in IHI’s groundbreaking work.

About University Health Care
University Health Care System offers a comprehensive range of services throughout 25 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. The cornerstone of the system is University Hospital, a 581-bed community nonprofit hospital that leads the region in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and is noted as a leader in obstetrical and gynecological care. More than 600 physicians practice at University Hospital, representing nearly every medical and surgical specialty. University has been named the Consumer Choice Award winner in the Augusta area for eight consecutive years for overall quality and image, and is the only hospital in Augusta to have the Magnet designation for nursing excellence.


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1350 Walton Way, Augusta, Georgia
(706) 722-9011