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A Passion for Continuous Improvement

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At Kaiser Permanente, we believe in the powerful combination of a passion for continuous improvement and an appreciation for best practices. That’s why we’ve established awards that recognize projects at our facilities that exemplify this commitment to advancing quality of care and patient safety.
As we start the new year, we would like to recognize three projects from 2016 with the Vohs Award for Quality and the Lawrence Patient Safety Award. By recognizing these projects and the people who worked on them, we hope to inspire a similar passion in others!

History of the Awards

The Vohs and Lawrence awards were created to honor the contributions of two esteemed Kaiser Permanente leaders – James A. Vohs and David M. Lawrence, M.D. They are presented by the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals Board of Directors annually.

The Winning Projects

Universal Perinatal Depression Screening Program

Through the Universal Perinatal Depression Screening Program, all pregnant women are screened for depression in early and mid-pregnancy and soon after the baby’s birth. If the woman is diagnosed with depression, her obstetrician offers referrals for classes, support groups, counseling or prescription medication.

“Women in my group go from feeling like, ‘There’s something really wrong with me’ and ‘I’m defective’ to feeling like, ‘I’m a capable mom who is providing for my baby and my family in a positive way,’” said Cosette Taillac, a licensed clinical social worker and Northern California’s assistant director for mental health.

Systematic Screening of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms Program

The Systematic Screening of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms program uses data in Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record to identify members who are at risk of AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm) based on their age and smoking history. For patients who are at risk, physicians receive automated alerts reminding them to schedule screenings. If an aneurysm is found, treatment varies from watchful waiting to surgical repair.

Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) Program

There was a time when patients recovering from hip fracture, knee replacement or colorectal surgeries could expect to spend a week or more in the hospital, feeling groggy and nauseated from painkillers. That’s no longer the norm at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California thanks to Enhanced Recovery After Surgery, or ERAS. By changing the way hospitals care for patients after select surgeries, the evidence-based program is helping people feel better, heal faster and return home sooner.

Since implementing ERAS in Northern California, Kaiser Permanente has seen a reduction from 17 to 13 percent  in the rate of post-surgical complications. “More importantly, it allows patients to feel better,” said surgeon Efren Rosas, M.D. “It’s just night and day compared to what it used to be.”

If you’d like to join a community of professionals that appreciates and strives for innovation while always putting the safety and care of the patients first, explore our careers today.

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