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Memorial Medical Center Earns Top National Honor in Quality and Safety from American Hospital Association


Memorial Medical Center is the first hospital in Illinois to receive the American Hospital Association’s top national honor for quality and safety.

The nonprofit hospital received the American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize, which honors leadership and innovation in quality improvement and safety. Only 15 hospitals have earned the prize since it was first awarded in 2002.

Leaders from Memorial Health System, the parent organization of Memorial Medical Center, will accept the prize July 17 at the Health Forum and American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Diego.

“This prestigious recognition from the American Hospital Association tells us we are working on the initiatives that matter for our patients and we’re achieving great results,” said Charles Callahan, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Memorial Health System. “Our staff is energized and focused on improving the health of the people and communities we serve by providing them with the best possible care at the lowest possible risk of harm.”

The Quest for Quality Prize winner is selected by a multidisciplinary committee of health care quality and patient safety experts based on its achievements in quality, safety and patient-centered care and for offering quality-improvement models that can be adopted by others in the field.

Memorial Medical Center was recognized for its 70,000-square-foot Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation (MCLI), which opened in 2015. Its Simulation Center features 10 simulation rooms, ranging from an operating room to a trauma bay, where physicians and other clinical staff can train and refine processes before they reach patients.

The hospital also was lauded for integrating Lean Six Sigma methodologies to improve patient safety. Lean Six Sigma offers a data-based team approach to improve performance and eliminate waste and defects. Led by senior administrators, more than 1,400 staff members and more than 400 physicians have earned Lean Six Sigma certification. More than 300 projects have been completed since 2010. One early Lean Six Sigma initiative, for example, reduced hospital-acquired pressure ulcers by 81 percent across 17 inpatient units at Memorial Medical Center and won the Illinois Hospital Association quality award in 2013.

The Quest for Quality Prize committee also commended Memorial Medical Center for partnering with other local health care providers – Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Springfield Clinic – to foster healthy populations through innovative research, education and practice as partners in the Midwest Healthcare Quality Alliance and its federally certified Quality Alliance Patient Safety Organization. Patient safety organizations strive to identify when medical errors occur, why they occur and how to best prevent them from happening again through the collection of information, analysis of errors and sharing lessons and preventive strategies with others.

Other hospitals recognized were Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital in Houston, which was named a finalist, and Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which earned a citation of merit.