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Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Takes Aim at Patient Safety with the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, and its parent company Trinity Health, is one of the first top hospitals and health systems in America to team with The Joint Commission’s Center for Transforming Healthcare to use new methods to find the causes of and put a stop to deadly breakdowns in patient care.

Trinity Health is the participating organization in the project and St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor is the pilot site. St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor worked with the Center to tackle hand washing failures that contribute to health care-associated infections that kill nearly 100,000 Americans each year and cost U.S. hospitals $4 billion to $29 billion annually to combat.

In addition to St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, other hospitals participating in the Center’s first project to make health care safer by being more reliable are Cedars-Sinai Health System, Exempla Healthcare, Froedtert Hospital, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Virtua, Wake Forest University Fairview Health Services, Intermountain Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinic, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Partners HealthCare System, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Rhode Island Hospital, and Newport Hospital. The targeted solutions developed by these pioneering hospitals will be shared with the more than 16,000 health care organizations accredited by The Joint Commission.

“St. Joe’s patients expect and deserve safe care. That’s why we are proud to be a part of the Center’s work to end preventable breakdowns in health care,” says Dr. Rolland Mambourg, vice president for physician services and executive champion for this project.

The Center’s work with leading hospitals and health systems to identify and measure poor quality and unsafe health care will lead to the development and testing of targeted, long-lasting patient safety solutions. These proven and practical strategies, based on methods such as Lean Six Sigma long used by other industries, can help transform American health care into a high-reliability industry that ensures patients receive safe, quality care.

“St. Joseph Mercy and Trinity Health have demonstrated tremendous courage and leadership by stepping up to reliably measure performance, identify causes and develop targeted solutions to a crucial patient safety problem facing all health care organizations,” says Mark R. Chassin, M.D., M.P.P., M.P.H., president, The Joint Commission. “St. Joe’s is making a public commitment to improving patient care by using a comprehensive system—the only way to truly make a lasting difference in safety.”

Recognizing that there is no quick fix, Trinity Health and the Center’s other participants set out to solve the problems—soap or alcohol-based hand rubs that are not convenient for caregivers to use, faulty data that lull facilities into thinking hand washing is occurring more frequently than it is, and lack of individual accountability—by using Robust Process Improvement™ tools.

Health care-associated infections are the fourth largest cause of death in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are approximately 1.7 million new cases of infections that are acquired by patients during their stay in hospitals every year. Although health care organizations and government agencies have developed numerous strategies over the years to battle these infections, studies have found that hand hygiene - the most basic, low-cost and low-technology infection prevention and control strategy - is ignored by half of health care workers. The targeted solutions from the Center now being tested by St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and other hospitals and health systems include making hand washing a top priority for the hospital, clearly stating expectations, staff training, and always washing before going in and when coming out of a patient’s room.

For more information about The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, visit