Hardeep Singh, M.D., M.P.H., an informatics leader at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and the Baylor College of Medicine, is the recipient of Individual Achievement Award in the 20th John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards. The Joint Commission and National Quality Forum (NQF) name Eisenberg winners annually to recognize major achievements to improve patient safety and healthcare quality.
Singh, chief of the Health Policy, Quality & Informatics Program in the Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and professor at Baylor College of Medicine, was recognized for his pioneering career in diagnostic and health IT safety. He has succeeded in translating his research into pragmatic tools, strategies and innovations for improving patient safety.
In giving the award, the Joint Commission and NQF noted that over the course of his career, Singh “has partnered with institutions such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to develop and implement tools to improve healthcare IT, including applications to improve diagnosis. Many of his developments, such as E-trigger tools, an eight-dimension sociotechnical model for health IT, and tools and checklists for communicating test results to patients and providers, are in use across the country to improve patient care.”
Singh also co-developed the “ONC SAFER Guides” that help hospitals perform a safety assessment of their electronic health record to address a wide range of patient safety issues related to health IT use. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring all eligible U.S. hospitals to use SAFER Guides starting in 2022.
He also conducted foundational research on defining and measuring diagnostic error and developed a national VA policy with accompanying tools and checklists for safely communicating test results to patients and providers. In a statement, Singh noted that many prior Eisenberg awardees have inspired his passion, which makes receiving this award even more special. “Back in 2005, when I began this journey, diagnostic error was considered a difficult problem to address with no real solutions. Few opportunities for grant funding were available and top experts I spoke to cautioned me about taking on a complex topic. Beginning a research career in an area where scientific knowledge is underdeveloped, and research funding is little is an enormous risk,” he said in a statement. “But perseverance helped me create a vision for diagnostic safety research and build a strong, mission-driven multidisciplinary team to improve diagnosis. We not only helped define a scientific path forward on measuring, analyzing, and tackling diagnostic error but we also embarked on translating research into practice through new tools, strategies, and innovations.”
Other Eisenberg awardees include:
• National Level Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality: Prime Healthcare Services, Improving and Promoting Social Determinants of Health at a System Level, which aims to help providers more effectively deliver patient care and reduce healthcare disparities. After implementing a new screening tool, community partnerships and bidirectional communications flow, Prime Healthcare Services observed improvements in all-cause hospital-wide readmission rates.
• Local Level Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality: Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Advance Alert Monitor – Automated Early Warning System of Adults at Risk. Kaiser Permanente developed a predictive analytic system called Advance Alert Monitor (AAM) that proactively identifies patients with a high risk of mortality or transfer to the ICU. Evaluation of the program showed statistically significant decreases in mortality with between 550 to 3,020 lives saved over four years. Data also indicated improvements in ICU admission rates, length of hospital stay, in-hospital morbidity and mortality within 30 days of an alert.
• Mark Chassin, M.D., M.P.H., former president and CEO of the Joint Commission, was given an Honorary Eisenberg Lifetime Achievement Award. During his 14 years as president, Chassin oversaw the activities of the nation’s predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. He introduced profound changes to Joint Commission accreditation and certification programs during that time. Under his leadership, accreditation shifted away from simply citing deficiencies to helping to drive improvement, as summarized in the motto, “Evaluate, educate and inspire.”