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2004 ISMP CHEERS for medication safety: Celebrating excellence

From the December 16, 2004 issue

On the heels of the 5th anniversary of the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, To Err is Human, 2004 has proven to be a watershed year set apart by patient safety initiatives that are now showing remarkable results. With great pleasure, ISMP held its 7th Annual ISMP CHEERS Awards Dinner last week in Orlando, FL, to honor some of these extraordinary organizations and individuals who have set a standard of excellence this year in the prevention of medication errors.

CHEERS resounded for two Award recipients who successfully brought diverse providers together to achieve patient safety:

---The Milwaukee Patient Safety Collaborative of the Medical Society of Milwaukee County (WI) was honored for its metro-wide, cooperative efforts among area physicians, hospitals, and pharmacists to eliminate error-prone abbreviations in outpatient and inpatient medication orders.

---The Commonwealth Fund (New York, NY) was honored for providing generous support for patient safety research and collaborative projects, including the 2000 and 2004 ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment for Hospitals, that brought varied healthcare providers together.

CHEERS rang out for three Award recipients who successfully employed innovative technology to improve medication safety:

---Abington Physician Network of Abington Memorial Hospital (PA) was recognized for its creation of webINR, a virtual anticoagulation clinic that was successfully implemented in more than two dozen primary care offices (visit for details).

---Reading Hospital and Medical Center (PA) was honored for its web-based RxToolkit, a point-of-care program for pharmacists and nurses that provides convenient procedural information, dosing tools, and staff communications (visit for details).

---Primary Children's Medical Center (Salt Lake City, UT) was recognized for achieving a 73% reduction in potentially harmful errors using smart syringe pumps that alert staff to programming errors or prescribed doses above or below pre-established limits.
CHEERS were bestowed upon two healthcare organizations that have clearly raised the bar in their quest for medication safety through exemplary leadership:

---Parkland Medical Center (Derry, NH) was honored for its ICAN ("I can" make your health care safer!) reporting program for staff, patients, and visitors, and implementation of strategic safety initiatives, including patient involvement in their own care via web-based and printed safety brochures.

--- Sentara Healthcare System (Norfolk, VA) was honored for implementing best practices related to pain management, anticoagulation, and other high-alert medications throughout its seven hospitals and 70 outpatient care sites, with improved and sustained patient outcomes.

CHEERS were awarded to two exceptional individuals for their unwavering support for medication safety:

---Thomas Burnakis, PharmD, (Baptist Medical Center, Jacksonville, FL) was honored for his selfless volunteer work with ISMP, including thoughtful feedback from a practicing clinician's perspective on a wide variety of issues, and participation on the advisory boards of three ISMP newsletters.

---Ginette A. Pepper, PhD, RN, FAAN, (University of Utah College of Nursing) was honored for her ongoing work in national and international medication safety research, which has focused on adverse drug effects in the elderly and medication administration safety.

A very special CHEERS was given to this year's recipient of the ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Subscriber Award:

---Benedictine Hospital (Kingston, NY) was honored for clearly using various ISMP newsletters as a cornerstone for its proactive medication system improvements, including implementation of a successful "Let's Talk" program to reduce intimidation among nurses, pharmacists, and physicians.

The ISMP CHEERS Awards concluded with the presentation of the 2004 ISMP Lifetime Achievement Award:

---Neil M. Davis, PharmD, MS, FASHP (Professor Emeritus, Temple University School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia, PA; Editor Emeritus, Hospital Pharmacy) was recognized as a true pioneer of the medication safety movement, envisioning a nationwide initiative as far back as 1974. His foresight and ongoing work in this area helped pave the way for improvements in all aspects of patient safety. When accepting the award, Dr. Davis chronicled a poignant, and sometimes humorous, journey through time, while drawing attention to evidence that healthcare has come a long way in achieving interdisciplinary teamwork and improvements in medication safety.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the organizations and individuals who attended and/or sponsored our 7th Annual ISMP CHEERS Awards Dinner (visit for a list), as well as our 10-year anniversary celebration as the nation's only nonprofit organization devoted entirely to medication error prevention. In one of healthcare's most significant defining moments - the 5-year anniversary of the IOM report - it has been our distinct honor to bestow the 2004 ISMP CHEERS Awards to a few of many deserving recipients in the area of patient safety.

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