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HAP Achievement Awards Spotlight: UPMC St. Margaret

November 28, 2018

Incredible work is being done across the state as Pennsylvania hospitals step up to improve health care. This week, we’re sharing an award-winning initiative from UPMC St. Margaret to improve the medication history discrepancy rates in patient medical records.

HAP Achievement Award

UPMC St. Margaret received HAP’s 2018 “In Safe Hands” Achievement Award for its successful creation of a program that decreased dangerous discrepancies in patient medical records. As a result of its award-winning initiative entitled “Improving the Medical History Intake Process,” UPMC St. Margaret successfully decreased discrepancies by 42 percent.

Recognizing the critical importance of error prevention in patient medical histories, the team at UPMC St. Margaret set out to focus on and identify variations in procedures that could lead to misinformation entered into a patient’s medical record. Gaining a full understanding of the current process of documenting medication histories involving nurses and pharmacists was the team’s first step toward decreasing the error rate.

Using a Six Sigma approach, the team:

  • Identified eight essential steps in the process
  • Found the sources of the variations, such as interview techniques, electronic sources of information, and methods of verifying the information
  • Determined an appropriate intervention for the top-ranking variable
  • Implemented a small-scale test of potential changes which, following the test’s success, was expanded across the organization

As a result of these focused efforts, discrepancies decreased from 26 percent to 15 percent, a 42 percent reduction.

Full details about this successful initiative are available for the benefit of other hospitals who may wish to replicate the effort.

Congratulations to UPMC St. Margaret for decreasing patient medical history discrepancies and for its receipt of a 2018 HAP Achievement Award. Learn more about this effort as well as the other 2018 award-winning programs at HAP’s website

Questions about the HAP Achievement Awards may be directed to HAP Member Services at (717) 561-5359.

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