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Awards & Recognition

American Hospital Association Names University Hospitals This Year’s Leader in Quality

The American Hospital Association (AHA), the premier national trade association representing more than 5,000 hospitals and health systems, has selected University Hospitals as the 2022 winner of its most prestigious honor: the Quest for Quality Prize.

The prize recognizes healthcare leadership and innovation in improving quality and advancing health in communities. AHA first awarded the Quest for Quality Prize in 2002.

A multidisciplinary committee of healthcare quality and patient safety experts gave UH the award based on the system’s exemplary achievements. Specifically, AHA lauded UH for its maturity and approach to quality, safety and equity. The AHA prize committee believes quality is deeply embedded in UH’s culture – from the board level, to the unit level, and across all sites in the organization.

The AHA committee also praised UH’s use of “I Will” statements, part of UH’s High Reliability Organization program, in which caregivers develop positive statements of belief around their roles. For example, members of the environmental services staff at UH have agreed to stop seeing themselves as housekeepers only. They created their own commitment: “I will start believing that I play a critical part in the safety, well-being and health of all those we serve.”

Other departments throughout UH created similar pledges in support of the organization’s Zero Harm initiative. The committee considered this practice a powerful tool in establishing a common language and culture around safety, while empowering staff to speak up when an error occurs.

The committee also cited the system’s connections to the communities UH serves and its mantra that “the community is our patient.” AHA thinks the UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Ahuja Center for Women and Children could serve as a national example of a new, innovative and effective model of patient, family and community support. The committee also viewed UH as an excellent example of a learning organization. Additionally, AHA highlighted UH’s efforts around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, applauding its Food for Life Market® locations and other non-traditional healthcare initiatives aimed at improving workforce opportunity and health equity in habitually marginalized communities.

UH also created a fractal management framework that facilitates the free flow of ideas and the sharing of promising practices across the system.

In winning this award, UH joins an elite group of approximately 20 other health systems and hospitals who have earned this highest honor. UH first won this award 10 years ago for being a champion in transparency, accountability and quality innovation.