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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Honors Dana-Farber Cancer Institute With 2nd Annual Health C

CONTACT: Susan Leahy
(617) 246-4823

Dana-Farber's innovative approach to patient and family-centered care seen as industry best practice

April 14, 2008 — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) announced today that Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has been selected as recipient of its second annual Health Care Excellence Award. The recognition comes with a $100,000 award. The award, which was created to recognize exceptional achievement in improving the safety and effectiveness of health care in Massachusetts, will be presented to Dana-Farber today at a luncheon sponsored by BCBSMA that will bring together local and national leaders to explore the critical elements of increasing health care affordability through improved quality of care. A notable panel of health experts cited Dana-Farber's patient and family-centered care model as a best practice for engaging and empowering patients and their families in every aspect of care throughout the organization, from the bedside to the boardroom. As part of this effort, Dana-Farber has implemented team training techniques to give patients and families the permission, power, and tools to be integral and effective members of the health care team, creating opportunities for dramatically safer, more effective care.

"One of the ways to improve our health care system is to recognize and support organizations that can guide us to exceptional achievement in creating and implementing innovative programs and partnerships," said Cleve Killingsworth, BCBSMA's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Dana-Farber has transformed the delivery of care through their entire organization with their model of patient and family-centered care, which encourages collaboration, communication, and engagement—activities that are critical to ensuring that the quality of health care in Massachusetts remains of the highest standard."

"While Dana-Farber has long placed value on improving communication and interaction between staff and patients and their families, specific initiatives were developed following a series of errors in 1994 that resulted in chemotherapy overdoses of two patients. In the wake of these tragedies, the organization's leadership recognized the need to establish new guidelines and programs around transparency and patient engagement.

"We are honored to receive the Healthcare Excellence Award as it is a testament to our staff, our board, and our patients' and families' commitment to providing the best and safest care and the immense trust and confidence that our patients and families have in us," said Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr., President of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

"At Dana-Farber, we continuously recognize the need to explore new approaches to patient care. We have created an environment that makes our patients and their families an integral part of the care team, and, this in turn, has resulted in high quality care and a better experience for the patients, their families, and the caregivers."

Examples of Dana-Farber's patient and family-centered model include:

  • The Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC), co-chaired by patients and families, advise hospital leadership and offer input on all decision making. Members of these Councils, as well as other patients and family members sit on 93 different hospital committees, providing recommendations on a variety of issues from the selection of a new Senior Vice President for Human Resources, to the planning for the new Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.

  • In 2005, Dana-Farber introduced Medication Reconciliation in its ambulatory practice, which encourages patients to review lists of their medications and allergies in order to identify and correct discrepancies. To date, this initiative-a close collaboration with doctors and staff-has resulted in a 90% reduction in the number of medication list errors. Medication Reconciliation was expanded at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2007 and across its satellite practices.

  • Patient-oriented team training is an initiative that gives patients explicit permission and tools to work more closely with the Dana-Farber staff as partners in their treatment. It fosters open and honest communication and allows patients to be more involved in their own care.

"Too often, efforts to improve quality in hospitals fail to involve patients and families," said Andrew Dreyfus, BCBSMA's Executive Vice President of Health Care Services. "Dana Farber has included the voice of patients and families in this successful model that is not only transforming the delivery of care at Dana-Farber but providing a blueprint for other health care delivery systems to follow."

More than 30 health care organizations throughout Massachusetts submitted nominations for the Health Care Excellence Award, part of a broad commitment by BCBSMA to work with key stakeholders to ensure that the health care system consistently delivers safe and effective care.

The selection committee, comprised of local and national leaders in health care delivery, business, and quality and safety, reviewed the applications and chose the winner. The review committee included the following experts: Maureen Bisognano, EVP and COO, Institute of Healthcare Improvement; Lee A. Carter, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Andrew Dreyfus, EVP, Health Care Services, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts; Lucian Leape, Adjunct Professor of Health Policy, Harvard School of Public Health; Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, President & CEO, SSM Health Care; Richard Shannon, Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Frederica Williams, President & CEO, Whittier Street Health Center.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( ) was founded more than 70 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to more than 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.


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