AHA honors 13 hospitals as 'stars' of the health care field

Associations and hospitals recognized for innovation and patient-centered care

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has dished out its annual awards to several hospitals and other organizations for being "stars" of the health care field for their achievements in quality, community health, palliative care, and health IT.

The award winners were profiled in the August issue of Hospitals & Health Networks, the official publication of the AHA.

Hospitals & Health Networks Editor Bill Santamour explains that "spotlighting the winners is an opportunity to disseminate across the health care field strategies that have been tested in the real world and proved successful."

The AHA–McKesson Quest for Quality Prize

The "Quest for Quality Prize" recognizes leadership and innovation in quality, safety, and commitment to patient care. This year's winner is Children's Hospital Colorado (Aurora), in part for its Target Zero program, which seeks to eliminate patient harm.

The hospital has launched a "full-court press" over the past two years to reduce patient harm, says Daniel Hyman, chief quality and patient safety officer. Children's has enlisted parents, board members, and staff in the effort to find common-sense solutions to improve quality. For instance, the hospital has started including patient photos in every electronic health record (EHR) to reduce the likelihood of patient identification errors.

AHA also recognized Duke University Hospital (Durham, North Carolina) as a finalist for the award, and awarded Nationwide Children's Hospital (Columbus, Ohio) with a citation of merit.


The "NOVA Award" is given to up to five programs that seek to improve health at the community level "by looking beyond patients' physical ailments, rooting out the economic and social barriers to care and collaborating with other community stakeholders."

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This year, awards were given to:

  • Presbyterian Healthcare Services (Albuquerque, New Mexico);
  • Florida Hospital (Orlando, Florida);
  • Baton Rouge General Medical Center, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, and Woman's Hospital (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), and Ochsner Medical Center (Jefferson, Louisiana);
  • PIH Health (Whittier, California) and Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center; and
  • University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health System (New York).

Each set of organizations was recognized for its accomplishments in a range of areas, including promoting healthy eating and treating chronic conditions such as high blood pressure.

Circle of Life Award

This award honors programs that show leadership in family- and patient-centered end-of-life and palliative care. AHA gave this year's award to Care Dimensions, Boston's largest hospice, noting that it has focused on providing resources and training to fill unique patient and family needs, such as removing advanced life support in the home setting. "We have tailored our care to our customers … and we do things differently, depending on their preferences," says Rob Warren, medical director of palliative care.

AHA also awarded Hospice of Frederick County, Maryland with a citation of honor.

Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award

The "Quality Milestone" award is given to the state, regional, or metropolitan hospital association that provides leadership on and is effective in improving care quality in a specific geographic area. The Minnesota Hospital Association was recognized this year.

The association has a long history of promoting patient safety and improving care quality, AHA said. In recent years, it has created easy-to-use roadmaps to assist member hospitals with following best practices, enabled data sharing to reduce readmission rates, and helped to significantly reduce the number of adverse events reported by its members.

AHA also gave an honorable mention to the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.

The Most Wired Innovator Award

The "Most Wired Innovator Award" award goes to hospitals which use information technology in innovative ways. This year, the award went to St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (Pontiac, Michigan), Penn Medicine, and St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital (New York).

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St. Joseph's earned praise for convening technology and clinical leaders to work on an innovative project to reduce infections, which involved digitally tracking handwashing among some staff. AHA highlighted Penn Medicine's efforts to quickly and inexpensively develop an application to let doctors view EHR data on their smartphones. And St. Luke's won for its program to equip high-risk cardiac patients with mobile electrocardiograms that can alert providers to problems before they require admission to the hospital.

AHA also recognized Middlesex Hospital (Middletown, Connecticut), Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (for a separate IT project) as finalists for the award (Santamour, Hospitals & Health Networks, 8/11; Greene, Hospitals & Health Networks, 8/11; Frellick, Hospitals & Health Networks, 8/11; Burt, Hospitals & Health Networks, 8/11; Larson, Hospitals & Health Networks, 7/14; Aston, Hospitals & Health Networks, 8/11).

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