​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​NEWS RELEASE


    Patient Safety Authority Announces Winners of 11th Annual I AM Patient Safety Awards

Harrisburg, PA – March 30, 2023 –    

The Patient Safety Authority has recognized healthcare professionals from across Pennsylvania and the nation as winners and runners-up of their 2023 I AM Patient Safety achievement awards.

Since it was introduced in 2013, the annual I AM Patient Safety contest has honored hundreds of teams and individuals for their advancements, outcomes, and commitment to patient safety.

“Given the constant, daily demands and challenges of healthcare, it is so important to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of those go above and beyond in providing safe care for their patients,” said Patient Safety Authority executive director, Regina Hoffman. “Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you for everything you do.”

The awards are judged by a cross-section of national and regional healthcare executives; patient safety advocates; and government, university, and patient representatives. The award criteria include innovation, impact, sustainability, and scalability.

The 2023 award winners are:

  • Executive Director’s Choice: Jesse Hixson, MSN, RN, at Allegheny Health Network’s Monroeville Ambulatory Surgery Center de-escalated a situation with a threatening patient, distracting them in a barricaded room for half an hour to keep staff and visitors safe until police arrived and apprehended the patient for transport to the hospital.
  • Ambulatory Surgery/Care: Mary Houton; Susan Walker; and the registered nurses from Penn Medicine Pennsylvania Hospital’s Ambulatory Surgical Center and infection prevention (IP) department collaborated to create an IP training program for healthcare personnel with measurable competencies for observable skills and behaviors that should be demonstrated in their job performance.​
    • Runners-up: Adrienne Bellino-Ailinger at Einstein Endoscopy Center Blue Bell and the Direct Access Colonoscopy Team at Einstein Endoscopy Center Blue Bell.​
  • ​Improving Diagnosis: Jung Yun, MD; Kevin Lo, MD; Peter Wang, MD; Meera Kasireddy; Terence Matalon, MD; at the Department of Radiology and Ryan Lee, MD, at the Department of Internal Medicine, Einstein Healthcare Network, part of Jefferson Health, developed and implemented an automated system to identify patients requiring follow-up imaging and reminds them of due or overdue recommendations via text messaging.
    • ​Runners-up: Kara Mascitti, MD, MSCE, Alex Matika, PharmD, and Lauren Allen, PharmD, at St. Luke’s University Health Network, and the Critical Care Unit at WellSpan Health York.
  • Individual Impact: Jenny Rex MSN, RN, and Adrian Zurca, MD, MEd, at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center collaborated to create a custom backboard that allows clinical staff to safely and effectively perform CPR for patients with severe spinal hyperextension and provided hands-on training in using it.
    • ​Runners-up: Kristen Farrell at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Alyssa Tousignant, RN, BSN, at Allegheny Health Network-Allegheny General Hospital.
  • Long-Term Care Facility: Donelle Grove, RN, infection preventionist at South Mountain Restoration Center, helped the facility navigate a COVID-19 outbreak in a unit, resulting in only six of its 33 residents becoming acutely ill. In addition to coordinating vaccinations, equipment sterilization, and staff infection prevention training, she was instrumental in understanding and implementing the new Enhanced Barrier Precautions.
    • ​Runners-up: Nicole Ross, Angela Borgo, Susan Bell, Kerri Brooks, Lynn Sauers, Jake Thieret, Douglas Zundel, Rachael Blank, and Lisa Painter at UPMC Senior Living, and Sugar Creek Station Managers at Sugar Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation.
  • Nationwide Warriors: Cyndi Brinkley at Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Virginia raised concerns about the design of a positive pressure, needleless IV site connector that posed a high risk of spilling nuclear medicine when the syringe is removed, prompting its temporary replacement with a neutral pressure valve alternative while it is evaluated.
    • ​Runners-up: Chrissie Blackburn at Project Patient Care and Vidya Saldivar, Pharm D; Mobolaji Adeola, Pharm D; and Archana Sadhu, MD, at Houston Methodist Hospital.
  • Physician Offices: The Quality Department at OSS Health created a surgical surveillance process between a hospital and the clinic in which postop staff ask every surgical patient a series of questions over three months to identify postop infections and other complications.
    • ​Runners-up: Amy Coppersmith at WellSpan Health and Tiffany Irwin at UPMC Hamot.
  • Safety Story: Suzanne Swift and Nancy Patterson at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children developed an insulin dose calculation sheet that incorporates verbal and visual cues to make it easier and safer for families to manage care for children with diabetes at home and figure out how much insulin they need.
    • ​Runners-up: The Forbes Hospital Operating Room Department and Sara Angelilli at Allegheny Health Network, and Beth Lindell at Allegheny Health Network Saint Vincent Hospital.
  • Sepsis: Jaber Monla-Hassan, MD; Olivia Johnson, PharmD; Christopher Anderson, PharmD; and Kim Mikula, MSN, RN, at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery introduced a smart alert in the electronic medical record that fires when a sepsis order set is signed, which helped improve sepsis bundle compliance from 67% to 100%.
    • ​​Runners-up: Jenna Mastromarino Riley at Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center and the Jefferson Health Sepsis Team.
  • Time-Outs: Sara Frey, PharmD, at Lehigh Valley Health Network performed a self-time-out to double-check a solution compounded for an infant patient and discovered a malfunction in the dispense prep computer program—and that the order had been prepared at 100 times the intended concentration. Because of the malfunction, the system would have scanned the incorrect order without error, resulting in serious harm if it had reached the patient. 
    • ​Runners-up: Emily Roth, BSN, RN, Oncology Nursing Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Samantha Braverman Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.
  • Transparency and Safety in Healthcare: Behavioral Health 6 Spruce Shared Governance at Pennsylvania Hospital created a form and process to help behavioral health patients and their families identify two support people who the patient approves to be informed, ensuring safe and efficient communication about their care.
    • ​Runners-up: Patient Safety Officers, Allegheny Health Network, and Vicenta Gaspar-Yoo, MD, President; William Bailey, DO, Chief Medical Officer; Milissa Hammers, Chief Nursing Officer; Quality Safety Value Team (Patient Safety Officer, Regulatory Manager, Infection Control Nurse and Quality Manager) Allegheny Health Network.​

About the Patient Safety Authority

Established under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act of 2002, the Patient Safety Authority is an independent state agency that collects and analyzes patient safety data to improve safety outcomes and help prevent patient harm. http://patientsafety.pa.gov

Contact Details
Caitlyn Allen
Director of External Affairs, Patient Safety Authority

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