NPSF Awards Research Grants to Study Rapid Response Team Events and Patient Handoffs

Grant recipients chosen from field of 125 submissions.

Boston, May 9, 2011—The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) announced that it has awarded $200,000 in grants to two researchers at leading medical centers. The grants are awarded through the NPSF Research Grants Program, which promotes studies leading to the prevention of human errors, system errors, patient injuries and their consequences.

The NPSF Board Research Grant has been awarded to James Gray, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, for his project, Trigger Events as a Burst-like Phenomena: Understanding the Role of Care Team Structure and Designing Solutions. This project will study the transmissible nature of patient events requiring intervention by a rapid response team (RRT)—a multidisciplinary medical team that provides critical care to patients who experience sudden clinical deterioration. The investigator’s previous work on RRTs suggests that the occurrence of an RRT event appears to influence or predict the risk of future deterioration in other patients. Using a large data set (more than 100,000 admissions), Dr. Gray and his team will explore whether an individual patient’s risk of decline is affected by the complex set of connections that exist between patients, their care, and the teams providing that care. ??The NPSF Board Research Grant is supported in part by generous contributions from NPSF Board members.

The Hospira Research Grant has been awarded to Emily Patterson, PhD, Ohio State University Medical Center, for her study, Patient Handoffs: the Impact of a Fresh Perspective on Patient Mortality in Critical Care Settings. Dr. Patterson’s project will use targeted ethnographic observations in two intensive care units to explore multiple questions related to changes in diagnoses after handoffs; strategies employed by staff during handoffs to increase patient safety; and team members’ willingness to speak up about safety concerns. This two-year study also aims to develop training materials related to patient handoffs.

This grant is funded by Hospira, the global specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company that provides solutions to help improve the safety, cost, and productivity of patient care.

The two grant recipients were selected from 125 submissions reviewed by an independent committee of 11 healthcare experts. That committee was chaired by Bruce Lambert, PhD, Professor of Pharmacy Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“The only way to truly transform the body of patient safety knowledge is to support original research,” said Diane C. Pinakiewicz, MBA, President of NPSF. “We are committed to advancing the efforts of investigators focused on identifying the causes of preventable injuries and the strategies that reduce them.”

“Our partnership with NPSF to advance research addressing medical errors reinforces the shared commitment of NPSF and Hospira to enhance patient safety in hospitals,” said Kathryn J. McDonagh, PhD, RN, vice president, Hospira.

“The number and quality of this year’s submissions were extraordinary,” Ms. Pinakiewicz added. “NPSF is most grateful to Hospira for its generous funding support of the research grants program and to our Board members, for their continual commitment to advancing research in patient safety.”

Since 1998, NPSF has supported 36 research projects with more than $3.6 million in grant funding.

About The National Patient Safety Foundation
The National patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) has been pursuing one mission since its founding in 1997 – to improve the safety of care provided to patients. As a central voice for patient safety, NPSF is committed to a collaborative, inclusive, multi-stakeholder approach in all that it does. NPSF is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. To learn more about the work of the National Patient Safety Foundation, and the NPSF Research Grants Program and its application process, visit