John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award Recipients Announced 

MAR 12, 2018

CONTACT: Sofia Kosmetatos

John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award Recipients Announced
Awards to be Presented at National Quality Forum’s 2018 Annual Conference

Washington, DC – The recipients of this year’s John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards include a physician who is passionate about improving communication and transparency between patients and their healthcare providers, a network of children’s hospitals that has saved an estimated 10,000 children from harm, and a large health system that has achieved a more than 60 percent decrease in hospital-acquired patient harms. The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF) will present these awards today during NQF’s 2018 Annual Conference in Washington, DC.

The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002, honors the late John M. Eisenberg, MD, MBA, former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). An impassioned advocate for healthcare quality improvement, Eisenberg was a member of NQF’s founding board of directors, chaired the federal government’s Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force, and personally led AHRQ’s grant program to support patient safety research.

The honorees for individual, national, and local recognition for their work in the field of patient safety and quality of care are:

  • Individual Achievement: Thomas H. Gallagher, MD, professor and associate chair, Department of Medicine, and professor, Department of Bioethics and Humanities, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle.
  • Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the National Level: Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety, a network of more than 130 children’s hospitals in the United States and Canada.
  • Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the Local Level: LifePoint Health’s National Quality Program, Brentwood, Tennessee.

Dr. Gallagher is honored for his work to improve transparency in disclosure of injury to patients who have been harmed during their medical treatment. His contributions include creating and directing the Collaborative for Accountability and Improvement, which has implemented communication and resolution programs at healthcare organizations across the country. He played an integral role in the national release of an AHRQ toolkit to help organizations develop communication and resolution programs, and he served on the National Academy of Medicine’s committee to improve diagnosis in healthcare. His work includes empirical research on patient preferences for error disclosure and disclosure practice, analysis of how state and federal policy impacts disclosure, implementation of disclosure training programs, and state-level demonstration projects designed to overcome barriers to the disclosure of adverse events. He has also been instrumental in using adverse events as a learning opportunity to improve clinical practice.

Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety, honored for its focus on advancing the culture of safety across a network of more than 130 children’s hospitals, spares an estimated nearly 10,000 children from harm while hospitalized. Members of the network share data about 11 types of patient harm such as surgical site infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, adverse drug events, and pressure injuries and falls. The members also hold more than 100 virtual learning events annually and host two conferences each year as part of their commitment to education. In addition to working with senior leadership in their hospitals, they engage patients’ families in their work to identify leading practices. Participants have reported sustainable change in their organizations through the collective efforts of the network, including an improved safety culture at the organizational level.

LifePoint Health’s National Quality Program is honored for its system-wide learning laboratory that consists of a data-driven program to improve the safety culture in its hospitals and decrease hospital-associated patient harm across more than 70 facilities in 22 states. Through these efforts, aggregate patient harm has decreased 62 percent. Successes include 12 months of zero central-line infections at 73 percent of the company’s hospitals from January to December 2017 (National Healthcare Safety Network-reported measure). From 2010 to 2017, hospital-acquired infections decreased by 78 percent for urinary tract infections, 58 percent for sepsis infection, and 73 percent for pneumonia (based on administrative claims data).

“Congratulations to Dr. Gallagher, LifePoint Health, and Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety for their achievements in the relentless pursuit of patient safety and quality improvement,” said Mark R. Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH, president and CEO, The Joint Commission. “All three recipients are committed to providing highly reliable healthcare—care that is consistently excellent and safe across all services and settings. It is through innovative work like theirs that we can make great strides in achieving zero patient harm.”

“The 2017 Eisenberg Award winners inspire all of us to continue our collective efforts to make healthcare better and safer for every patient,” said Shantanu Agrawal, MD, MPhil, president and CEO, National Quality Forum. “Through data, collaboration, transparency, education, and patient engagement, the Eisenberg winners’ innovative approaches move us closer toward our universal goal to eliminate patient harm.”

The achievements of each award recipient will be featured in the July 2018 issue of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.


The National Quality Forum
The National Quality Forum (NQF) is the nation’s resource for healthcare quality measurement and improvement. NQF is an independent, not-for-profit, membership-based organization that brings healthcare stakeholders together to recommend quality measures and improvement strategies that reduce costs and help patients get better care. Learn more at

The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating healthcare organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. Learn more about The Joint Commission at