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Bernard A. Kershner Innovations in Quality Improvement Award recognizes exemplary quality improvement studies conducted by AAAHC accredited organizations.

Below are the 5 finalists (2 from Surgical/Procedural & 3 from Primary Care) for the 2020-2021 program.


  • “Email Capture of Patient Population” submitted by Medical City Surgery Center | Las Colinas

The Medical City Surgery Center’s study focused on increasing the number of collected patient email addresses to ensure an adequate sample size for monthly patient experience surveys. Initial data findings were shared with staff to discuss gaps in the collection process and identify solutions, which focused on enhancing patient communication before and during an office visit, educating business staff to better utilize the online patient portal, and improving documentation protocol among clinical staff. After following the new procedures for one month, the facility surpassed its target email capture rate of 75% by achieving an 88% email capture rate. In subsequent months staff were able to improve to a 95% email capture rate and continue to sustain that rate moving forward. View study poster here.

  • “Medication Diversion Quality Improvement Study” submitted by Outpatient Surgical Services

Upon discovering tampered medications, the Outpatient Surgical Services in Plantation FL began a quality improvement study to evaluate compliance with medical diversion guidelines. A newly created medication diversion team implemented extensive measures to improve inventory tracking and narcotic documentation and reeducate clinical staff about proper disposal of unused narcotics. In addition, the facility instituted a system to control medication access which focused on ensuring narcotic keys remain with appropriate personnel, medication storage is always secure, and facility access is limited and monitored. The new procedures and updated protocols resulted in zero medication losses, thus resulting in 100% compliance with medical diversion guidelines. View study poster here.

Primary Care

  • “Immunization Error Quality Improvement Study” submitted by Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH)

Purdue University Student Health Center launched a quality improvement study to reduce errors in vaccine administration and documentation. Using data analysis to identify the root causes of the problem, the team instituted several updates related to staff communication and education, electronic medical records, flowcharts, inventory tracking, and oversight protocols. Remeasurement indicated that the average immunization error rate decreased by 74%, surpassing the set goal of decreasing the error rates by 50% of the initial rate. The team extended the study to validate a sustained error rate reduction during high-volume periods, implementing new corrective actions and further reducing the average monthly error rate. View study poster here.

  • “Improving Training Standards for Medical Assistants in a Pediatric Primary Care Setting” submitted by Children’s Health Alliance, LLC

Nemours Children’s Primary Care created a goal to adequately prepare all medical assistants for work upon completion of training across 18 pediatric offices. The study included data collection and analysis which demonstrated that the facilities needed to standardize medical assistance training and minimize program documentation. Leadership introduced system-wide measures that included standardizing documentation, assigning mentors to each trainee, and establishing protocols for monitoring compliance across all offices. After 90 days, team members reported that 100% of medical assistants felt well trained for the job, the number of training documents were reduced from 77 to 52,  and storage location decreased from 6 locations to 1 location. View study poster here.

  • “Meeting the Goals of Title IX Federal Mandates for Survivors of Abuse” submitted by Health Services Portland State University

The study by Portland State University Health Services aimed to offer counseling and legal resources to all students seen for an initial sexual assault evaluation, as well as properly document all such cases and mark them as sensitive. Applying collective staff feedback, the team developed solutions based on patient chart standardization and staff education to address the shortcomings in patient assault evaluations and documentation. Staff improved sexual assault evaluations, with a remeasurement of 100% of patient charts being clearly documented and designated as sensitive and, most importantly, resulting in every patient receiving the materials and information required by Title IX.View study poster here.

These organizations were selected by our Expert Panel for their exemplary QI studies. Using the “10 Elements” format outlined in our Standards Handbook, each finalist will create a poster that will be available for viewing during the March Achieving Accreditation (AA) conference. Shortly after the March AA conference, we will request AAAHC accredited organizations to review the posters and vote for their favorite. Winners of the Expert Panel and “People’s Choice” will be announced during a Kershner Award ceremony webinar on May 19th. We will provide further details on signing up for this webinar in the coming months.

In addition, because the pandemic had a significant impact on our clients and the patients they serve over the past year, AAAHC is excited to bestow a special recognition award to the Winslow Indian Health Care Center for its exemplary QI study on the Prevention of Crowding During COVID-19 Pandemic. This QI study highlights how an organization can pivot quickly, implement innovative solutions, and continue to maintain high quality care under challenging circumstances. So, although not part of our “Bernie” and “People’s Choice” categories, we bestow this “special recognition” award to Winslow Indian Health Center. Congratulations! View study poster here.