News Seton Family of Hospitals EarnsThe Joint Commission’s 2007 Ernest Amory Codman Award

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Austin, Texas- -(November 7, 2007)--The Joint Commission today named the Seton Family of Hospitals, Austin, Texas, a 2007 recipient of the 11th annual Ernest Amory Codman Award The award recognizes excellence in the use of outcomes measurement by health care organizations to achieve improvements in the quality and safety of health care.

The Seton Family of Hospitals is the recipient of the award in the multiple organization category and is being recognized for an initiative to reduce preventable birth injuries. The program resulted in a 93 percent reduction in birth trauma rates from 0.3 percent for 2001-2003 to 0.02 percent in 2006.

Named for the physician regarded in health care as the "father of outcomes measurement," the Ernest Amory Codman Award showcases the effective use of performance measurement by health care organizations to improve the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission also recognizes an individual who has played a significant leadership role in promoting the use of performance measures to improve health care services, or who has made major contributions to the development and testing of performance measures or the science and art of quality improvement. A panel of national experts in quality measurement and improvement selected the seven recipients of the 2007 Awards.

"We are pleased to recognize the 2007 Codman Award recipients for their innovative approaches and commitment to using performance measurement to improve the quality and safety of health care," says Dennis S. O'Leary, M.D., president, The Joint Commission. "Their achievements demonstrate the progress that can be made when performance measurement leads to meaningful practices that benefit patients."

"We were already at about half the national birth trauma rate, but we knew we needed to do better," says Charles J. Barnett, president and chief executive officer, Seton Family of Hospitals. "Through the good work of our nurses and physicians we've been able to reduce our rates even more. In fact, over the past year, we've experienced zero birth traumas, which is truly remarkable."

The Seton Family initiative began with the formation of the Perinatal Safety (PNS) team, a multi-disciplinary workgroup. An analysis completed by both PNS and an intensive failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) work group of physicians and nurses identified high-risk elements of the process. New protocols and policies were instituted, including no vacuum delivery prior to 36 weeks gestation, no combined usage of vacuum and forceps and no elective induction prior to 39 weeks gestation.

In addition to reducing birth trauma rates, the Seton Family decreased prematurity rates to 0.16 percent in 2004-2006 from 0.25 percent in 2001-2003; reduced instrumented delivery rate to 4.7 percent in 2004-2006 from 7.4 percent in 2001-2003; and reduced elective labor inductions prior to 39 weeks of gestational age to 0.0 percent by October 2005, down from 3.2 percent.

The Seton Family of Hospitals is the leading provider of health care services in Central Texas with 23 clinical locations throughout the region. Seton includes the only heart transplant center in the region, the state's busiest Level II trauma center and has been awarded for nursing excellence. Additional award recipients in the following categories are:

  • Behavioral Health Care: Addiction Treatment Services of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Hospital: Broward General Medical Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Christiana Care Health Services, Wilmington, Delaware; and Saint Joseph Healthcare, Lexington, Kentucky.
  • Long Term Care: Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center and Home, Staten Island, New York.
  • Individual: John E. Wennberg, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Center for Evaluative Clinical Services at Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,300 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, The Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

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image Seton is proud to have four hospitals – the only hospitals in Central Texas - that have earned the Magnet designation, the highest award for nursing excellence given by the American Nurses Association.