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Original Release 3/17/2011
Media Contact:
Danielle Zarrella
Richmond Public Relations
Karen Peck
Northwest Hospital & Medical Center

Northwest Hospital Among Top 5% in Nation for Patient Safety for Fifth Consecutive Year

Northwest Hospital & Medical Center today announced that it has again been named among the top 5% of hospitals in the U.S. for patient safety based on an annual study by HealthGrades®, the nation’s leading healthcare ratings company. As a result of its findings, HealthGrades has recognized Northwest Hospital with the 2011 Patient Safety Excellence Award™. Northwest Hospital is one of only 268 hospitals in the country to receive the designation and one of only four hospitals in Washington State to be recognized for the past five consecutive years.

The study finds that Medicare patients at Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals were 46.26% less likely to experience a patient safety event during the time period studied. In addition, if all hospitals performed at the same level as Northwest Hospital, approximately 174,358 patient safety events and 20,688 Medicare deaths could have been avoided while saving the federal government approximately $1.8 billion in excess healthcare costs from 2007 to 2009.

Over the several years, Northwest Hospital has launched a variety of initiatives that have had a significant, positive impact on patient safety. They include:

    Surgical Checklist  - Specific surgical checklists help staff double-check, before the surgery begins, that all preliminary pre-operative medical care, laboratory studies and allergy checks are completed, along with orders for post-operative medications. Over the years, Northwest Hospital has made even further additions to the checklist based on the hospital’s continued participation in the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP) – a national quality partnership of organizations committed to improving surgical safety by reducing post-operative complications.
  • Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) – Electronic medical records and patient bedside computing have changed the way Northwest Hospital takes care of patients, documents treatment and coordinates care. EMRs improve the ability to efficiently share critical patient information among physicians, clinical staff, pharmacies and other providers while also enhancing accuracy. 

  • Electronic Medication Reconciliation – Is an electronic tracking system that identifies the most complete and accurate list of medications a patient is taking and using that list to provide correct medications for the patient.  This technology prevents medication errors ensuring the reduction in adverse drug events on patients. The technology is helpful through the entire continuum of care, from admission to discharge.

  • Rapid Response Teams – The Rapid Response Team (RRT) is a team of nurses, nursing supervisions, respiratory therapists, physicians and pharmacists that respond to patients whose physical conditions show signs of deterioration. The RRT assists with patient assessment, organizes patient information to communicate to the physician and starts interventions aimed at decreasing adverse clinical outcomes.  

  • Involving Patients and their Families – At Northwest Hospital, patients and their loved-ones are integral members of the care team. At every stage of care, whether a patient is admitted for an acute injury or for outpatient surgery, patients and their family members are informed of and often involved in the treatment.

The eighth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospital Study evaluates patient safety in U.S. hospitals. HealthGrades used Medicare inpatient data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) database and Patient Safety Indicator software from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to calculate event rates for 13 indicators of patient safety for all the nation’s hospitals. All analysis was based on data from 2007 to 2009 with the exception of Foreign Body Left After a Procedure which was based only on data from 2009. These indicators identify the best-performing hospitals, or Patient Safety Excellence Award Hospitals, which represent the top 5% of all U.S. hospitals. HealthGrades developed this award to give patients more information about choosing a hospital.

In addition to the Patient Safety Excellence Award, HealthGrades also awarded Northwest Hospital The Spine Surgery Excellence Award for 2011.

A full copy of the HealthGrades patient safety study can be found at

About Northwest Hospital & Medical Center
Founded in 1960, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center is a full-service, non-profit hospital located minutes north of downtown Seattle. With 281 licensed beds, more than 1,900 employees and all private rooms, it offers some of the most innovative, technologically advanced medical care available. Major clinical programs and services include: emergency services; critical care; cardiac care; neurosciences; stroke center; cancer care; childbirth services; bariatric surgery; sports medicine; medical rehabilitation; geropsychiatric center; Gamma Knife® Center; diagnostic imaging; laboratory services; and education and wellness programs, among others. For more information about Northwest Hospital and its programs and services, call (206) 364-0500 or (206) 633-4636 for the Physician Referral Line, or visit Northwest Hospital is an entity of the UW Medicine health system.

The Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award
Northwest Hospital Earns The Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award
The Emergency Medicine Excellence Award
Northwest Hospital Earns The Emergency Medicine Excellence Award
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Recognize a Staff Member: DAISY Foundation Award - (for extraordinary nurses) | Cares Award - (for all Northwest Hospital staff)

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