The South Carolina Hospital Association Announces 57 Hospitals Win 230 Zero Harm Awards in 2019

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

The South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) is pleased to announce that we have recognized a record-breaking 57 SC hospitals who collectively won 230 Certified Zero Harm Awards this year. These awards collectively represent 148,173 central line infection-free days and 19,771 surgical procedures with no medically caused harm and illustrate the extraordinary commitment to quality of care in SC hospitals.

The Certified Zero Harm Awards is a unique statewide program thanks to SCHA's collaboration with the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC). For each award, hospitals must experience no preventable hospital-acquired infections of a specific nature over an extended period of time, and that data must be independently verified by DHEC. This unique third-party verification process with the state agency provides exceptional legitimacy to these patient safety awards and is a testament to the spirit of statewide collaboration that has driven so many patient safety efforts, from the adoption of surgical safety checklists in Safe Surgery 2015 to current efforts like the Birth Outcomes Initiative and Surgical Quality Collaborative.

"The Zero Harm program is a prime example of a successful partnership between the public and private sector that improves the quality of life in South Carolina," says Rick Toomey, Director of DHEC. "As medical errors continue to be a major concern across the country, South Carolina is a national leader in eliminating harm and improving patient safety."

The Zero Harm program began in 2014 acknowledging hospitals that are on the forefront of preventing medical errors, which by some estimates is the third leading cause of death in the United States with an adverse economic impact of up to 1 trillion dollars annually. Thanks to support from The Duke Endowment and The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Health, SCHA and South Carolina hospitals have engaged in numerous statewide efforts to create a culture of high reliability and reduce harm in our facilities by implementing robust, evidence-based practices that are making a positive impact on patients and the safety and quality of care.   

According to Karen Reynolds, Director of Innovation and Acceleration at SCHA, the awards are all part of the Association's efforts to guide and support the state's hospitals efforts to adopt best practices and implement cultures of high reliability.

"Zero patient harm is possible only if physicians, clinical and support staff members work together to support a culture of high reliability," Reynolds says. "Zero Harm Award winners are an inspiration to all hospitals across the state striving to provide measurably safe care for every patient."