Gary Frank, MD, MS, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has been selected by the ABP to receive the 2019 Paul V. Miles (PVM) Fellowship Award. The award is given annually to an accomplished mid-career pediatrician dedicated to improving the quality of health care for children. Later this year, as part of the fellowship, Dr. Frank will visit the ABP offices and give grand rounds at the University of North Carolina and Duke University medical schools to discuss his work in quality and patient safety.
Dr. Frank developed the initiative “One is Not Zero” at Children’s, engaging physicians and staff to work together to prevent errors that can harm children while they are in the hospital. The “One is Not Zero” program investigates behaviors, systems, and processes, finds areas for improvement, and facilitates open communication to help physicians and providers constructively learn from errors and identify problems before they lead to mistakes. The program is given credit with the entire Children’s system’s recent achievement of going more than a year without a serious safety event.
“Dr. Frank has developed practical and highly effective methods for improving the quality of care delivered by focusing on high reliability science and applying that to patient safety,” says Keith Mann, MD, MEd, ABP Vice President of Continuing Certification. “Not only has he instituted these methods within his own health care system, but he is sharing this knowledge with others across the nation through publications and collaborative networks. We look forward to having him share his ideas with us.”
Dr. Frank was nominated by two of his colleagues, Daniel Salinas, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Children’s and James Fortenberry, MD, Interim Chief Physician Officer and Pediatrician in Chief at Children’s and Professor of Pediatric Critical Care at Emory University School of Medicine. In their nomination letter, they state:
“Dr. Frank’s leadership has had a profound impact on how we care for patients at Children’s, one of the largest pediatric health care systems in the country… His efforts have sparked tremendous improvements in numerous key metrics, including a marked decrease in hospital-associated conditions, most notably in central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-acquired urinary tract infections and surgical site infections. His continuous commitment to driving these results has come primarily from emphasizing that all quality is local.”
Dr. Salinas and Dr. Fortenberry credit Dr. Frank with translating the health care system’s commitment to safety into practical tactics that have resulted in improved quality of care. Dr. Frank started a daily morning safety call across the system that helps quickly identify problems and risk points for the day. He also initiated weekly safety huddles to address specific issues and concerns to determine the nature of the problem and identify opportunities for improvement.
“His emphasis on a culture of safety has been demonstrated by significant improvement in survey scores of our system employees, reflecting their understanding and embracing of the safety culture, a culture not focused on finding fault but on finding solutions,” his nominators write.
Dr. Frank is recognized nationally for his expertise in quality and safety. He served on the clinical steering committee of the Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS) Hospital Engagement Network, a leading national pediatric patient safety collaborative. He co-leads the SPS Pressure Injury workgroup and serves on the SPS Measurement Committee which helps assure accuracy and integrity of SPS data.
In more than 20 peer-reviewed manuscripts and chapters as well as numerous abstracts he authored or co-authored, Dr. Frank has focused on improving the quality and safety of care for hospitalized patients. He is also the co-editor of three books on pediatric hospital medicine. In 2016, he was named to the Editorial Review Board of Pediatric Quality and Safety and has been a reviewer for the journals Pediatrics, Hospital Pediatrics, and Hospital Medicine.
His nominators praise his “mechanistic understanding of systems of care,” which they say may come from his training as an engineer. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Dartmouth College, then a master’s degree in engineering management from Stanford University before attending the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is certified in General Pediatrics by the ABP and meets the requirements of Maintenance of Certification (MOC).
The Paul V. Miles Fellowship honors Dr. Miles’ years of service as Senior Vice President for Maintenance of Certification and Quality at the ABP. PVM Fellows bring their experiences and insights to help focus and improve the ABP’s efforts to support pediatricians as they improve care for children.