Dana-Farber's innovative approach to patient and family-centered care seen as industry best practice
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) announced today that
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been selected as recipient of its
second annual Health Care Excellence Award. The recognition comes with a
The award, which was created to recognize exceptional achievement in
improving the safety and effectiveness of health care in Massachusetts,
will be presented to Dana-Farber today at a luncheon sponsored by BCBSMA
that will bring together local and national leaders to explore the
critical elements of increasing health care affordability through
improved quality of care.
A notable panel of health experts cited Dana-Farber's patient and
family-centered care model as a best practice for engaging and
empowering patients and their families in every aspect of care
throughout the organization, from the bedside to the boardroom. As part
of this effort, Dana-Farber has implemented team training techniques to
give patients and families the permission, power, and tools to be
integral and effective members of the health care team, creating
opportunities for dramatically safer, more effective care.
"One of the ways to improve our health care system is to recognize
and support organizations that can guide us to exceptional achievement
in creating and implementing innovative programs and partnerships," said
Cleve Killingsworth, BCBSMA's chairman and chief executive officer.
"Dana-Farber has transformed the delivery of care through their entire
organization with their model of patient and family-centered care, which
encourages collaboration, communication, and engagement — activities
that are critical to ensuring that the quality of health care in
Massachusetts remains of the highest standard."
While Dana-Farber has long placed value on improving communication
and interaction between staff and patients and their families, specific
initiatives were developed following a series of errors in 1994 that
resulted in chemotherapy overdoses of two patients. In the wake of
these tragedies, the organization's leadership recognized the need to
establish new guidelines and programs around transparency and patient
"We are honored to receive the Healthcare Excellence Award as it is a
testament to our staff, our board, and our patients' and families'
commitment to providing the best and safest care and the immense trust
and confidence that our patients and families have in us," said Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr., president of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
"At Dana-Farber, we continuously recognize the need to explore new
approaches to patient care. We have created an environment that makes
our patients and their families an integral part of the care team, and,
this in turn, has resulted in high quality care and a better experience
for the patients, their families, and the caregivers."
Examples of Dana-Farber's patient and family-centered model include:
- The Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC), co-chaired by
patients and families, advise hospital leadership and offer input on all
decision making. Members of these Councils, as well as other patients
and family members sit on 93 different hospital committees, providing
recommendations on a variety of issues from the selection of a new
senior vice president for Human Resources, to the planning for the new
Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.
- In 2005, Dana-Farber introduced Medication Reconciliation in its
ambulatory practice, which encourages patients to review lists of their
medications and allergies in order to identify and correct
discrepancies. To date, this initiativea close collaboration with
doctors and staffhas resulted in a 90 percent reduction in the number of
medication list errors. Medication Reconciliation was expanded at
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2007 and across its satellite practices.
- Patient-oriented team training is an initiative that gives
patients explicit permission and tools to work more closely with the
Dana-Farber staff as partners in their treatment. It fosters open and
honest communication and allows patients to be more involved in their
"Too often, efforts to improve quality in hospitals fail to involve
patients and families," said Andrew Dreyfus, BCBSMA's executive vice
president of Health Care Services. "Dana-Farber has included the voice
of patients and families in this successful model that is not only
transforming the delivery of care at Dana-Farber but providing a
blueprint for other health care delivery systems to follow."
More than 30 health care organizations throughout Massachusetts
submitted nominations for the Health Care Excellence Award, part of a
broad commitment by BCBSMA to work with key stakeholders to ensure that
the health care system consistently delivers safe and effective care.
The selection committee, comprised of local and national leaders in
health care delivery, business, and quality and safety, reviewed the
applications and chose the winner. The review committee included the
following experts: Maureen Bisognano, EVP and COO, Institute of
Healthcare Improvement; Lee A. Carter, chairman, Board of Trustees,
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Andrew Dreyfus, EVP,
Health Care Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Lucian
Leape, adjunct professor of Health Policy, Harvard School of Public
Health; Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, president and CEO, SSM Health Care; Richard
Shannon, professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Frederica
Williams, president and CEO, Whittier Street Health Center.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (www.bluecrossma.com)
was founded 71 years ago by a group of community-minded business
leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to
approximately 3 million members. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors
and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering
patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care
consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross
Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue
Cross Blue Shield Association.