BOSTON, MA, April 5, 2017 –CRICO extends congratulations to the members of the I-PASS Study Group on its receipt of the prestigious 2016 John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. This award is presented annually by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum (NQF), two leading organizations that set standards in patient care. The I-PASS Study Group developed, implemented, and tested the effectiveness of standardized provider-to-provider communication during patient handoffs to reduce miscommunication that can lead to harmful medical errors.

I Illness Severity
P Patient Summary
A Action List
S Situation Awareness and Contingency Planning
S Synthesis by Receiver

CRICO, with its long history of supporting innovative patient safety initiatives to improve health care delivery, was an early supporter of theI-PASS work. Along with Boston Children’s Hospital, CRICO provided funding for the initial single-site I-PASS study in 2009, which sought to examine the patient safety impact of a resident physician handoff bundle. Results from this study published in JAMA, showed a significant (46%) decrease in medical errors and improvements in both verbal and written handoff processes.

Carol Keohane MS, RN, AVP, of Patient Safety at CRICO, along with Katherine Zigmont, BSN, RN, Clinical Liaison Nurse for CRICO’s AMC PSO are members of the original I-PASS Study Group. Keohane notes, “It is an honor to be part of the dedicated team receiving this prestigious award. Structured communication tools ensure that all members of the care delivery team have the information they need—at the right time—to deliver safe, reliable care to their patients. In our current roles at CRICO, we are now in a position to help spread the important benefits of this program.”

In a subsequent multi-center study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, implementation ofI-PASS was associated with a 30% reduction in medical errors that harm patients. An estimated 80% of the most serious medical errors can be linked to communication failures, particularly during patient handoffs. Handoffs occur at all changes of shift and whenever a patient changes location in a hospital.

In 2015, based on noted improvements after implementation of the I-PASS package, the CRICO Board of Directors approved funding to support adoption of this tool for safer care at member organizations within the Harvard medical community.

About I-PASS
I-PASS is a package of interventions created to standardize communications during patient handoffs built around the verbal mnemonic “I-PASS” (Illness severity, Patient summary, Action list, Situational awareness and contingency planning, and Synthesis by receiver).

The most validated and effective method for handoffs in the hospital, no other handoff approach has such strong evidence of effectiveness. Over the past seven years, the program has been extensively refined, tested and adapted for use across specialties and disciplines, where it has been well-integrated into workflow patterns. I-PASS is now being successfully used by more than 50 leading hospitals in the U.S.

For 40 years, CRICO has served the clinicians, institutions, and employees of the Harvard medical community with a superior medical professional liability program, and an extensive array of patient safety resources. The strength of our program comes from the delivery of strong insurance protection and claims management through vigorous yet fair malpractice defense strategies. CRICO works closely with organizational leaders and physicians to provide insured-clinicians the support they need in the aftermath of an adverse event.


[1] Starmer AJ, Spector ND, Srivastava R et al. Rates of Medical Errors and Preventable Adverse Events Among Hospitalized Children Following Implementation of a Resident Handoff Bundle. JAMA 2013
[2] Starmer AJ, Spector ND, Srivastava R et al. Changes in Medical Errors After Implementation of a Handoff Program. NEJM 2014
[3] BMJ 2016; 353:i2139 (Published 03 May 2016).

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