Partners in Excellence
BY SARAH L. PALMER
Teams of JHAH staff will be undertaking fellowships with the Armstrong Institute. The Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and
Quality strives to reduce preventable harm, improve clinical outcomes and experiences and reduce waste in health care delivery at
Johns Hopkins and around the world.
(JHAH) is the result of a joint venture between two world
leaders in their respective fields: Saudi Aramco and Johns
Hopkins Medicine (JHM). In addition to providing industry-leading quality health care to Saudi Aramco employees and their eligible dependents, JHAH will fuel clinical
innovation and serve as a model in the provision of health
care in the region. It will contribute to the development of
the health care industry in alignment with Saudi Aramco’s
commitment to enabling growth, opportunities and diversification within the Kingdom.
Over the coming years, this international collaboration
will contribute significantly to the health and well-being of
Saudi Arabia and its citizens. JHAH is evolving into a health
system of excellence that provides enhanced specialty and
subspecialty services, new lines of treatment, research and education that address some of the most significant health care
challenges in the region.
One of JHM’s major contributions will involve consulting and working together with JHAH staff and leadership
to enhance numerous clinical programs and develop tailored
education and training programs related to nursing, quality
and safety, research and health care leadership development
to ensure sustainability. Since late January, more than 65 renowned faculty and experts from JHM visited JHAH to work
and initiate collaborations with JHAH staff in Saudi Arabia.
Joint Commission International success
On November 27, Keith Vander Kolk, CEO, JHAH, commented, “I am proud to share with you that the Joint Commission International (JCI) Survey, which concluded today,
resulted in a preliminary report score of 99 percent, which
is excellent.” Vander Kolk added that the evaluators had recommended JHAH for reaccreditation. The one-week, on-site
survey followed the 5th Edition of the JCI accreditation standards, which are widely regarded as being markedly more
rigorous than previous editions.
At the debrief presentation JCI Survey team leader, Enrico Baldantoni, M.D., commented “Johns Hopkins Aramco
Healthcare is a point of excellence in health care delivery in
the Middle East and the world.”
JCI accreditation is subject to assessment, which takes
place every three years. The JCI survey is a challenging process for any health care provider. To meet the required standards, an organization must examine its current processes,
policies, and procedures relative to the current standards of
care and improve any areas that are not in compliance.
JCI is not the only accreditation agency in health care,
but it is by far the largest and most prestigious. Hospitals
and other health care providers who receive JCI accreditation have proven that they provide the highest level of performance and service to their patients. In the months preceding the JCI Survey, at every level and in every aspect of
JHAH operations, staff worked diligently to achieve the
positive outcome. The amount of work involved in the prep-
aration, review and training is vast and staff members have
invested a tremendous amount of effort and energy to
More good news
Consistency is an important part of quality and JHAH is
also celebrating the achievements of Laboratory Services,
whose sustained commitment to excellence has resulted in
the following reaccreditations:
Reaccreditation for Transfusion Services and the
Donor Center by the American Association of Blood
Banks (AABB) continuously accredited since 1979.
Reaccreditation for the Medical Laboratories by the
College of American Pathologists (CAP) continuously
accredited since 2002.
It is not only the implementation of evidence-based medicine and use of advancing technologies, but also the small,
seemingly imperceptible everyday interactions that contribute to an overall high quality of service for patients. Reaccreditation by these respected organizations reflects the
commitment to care, which is being demonstrated throughout operations at JHAH.
The presence at JHAH Dhahran by His Excellency Adel Fakeih and his delegation represented the first ever official visit to the
facilities by a Minister of Health.
JHAH staff are preparing for the implementation of the Epic system. The new electronic health record is a state-of-the-art
integrated information system that will combine all available patient information in a single database to improve all caregivers’
ability to review and treat patients. This is especially critical in areas such as Emergency Medicine where a critically injured
patient may not be able to share information verbally.
Major ongoing projects
Over the coming months and years, JHAH will share the
progress and impact of integral projects, such as the following.
A Memorandum of Understanding signed in January 2014
expressed the commitment to collaborate to develop a plan
for academic nursing education programs and a nursing
school pursuing a two-phase approach. Phase 1 encompasses the development of a plan for a range of academic
nursing educational programs. Phase 2 encompasses the establishment of a school of nursing in collaboration with the
Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) to
be located on a campus in Dhahran.
Activities to date include the completion of the preliminary assessment by a delegation of nursing leaders from
JHUSON and Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI)
The next steps will be ongoing discussions with JHAH
and JHUSON to form a study team to assess JHAH’s existing nursing capabilities and challenges.
The insight from specialized consultants and Johns Hopkins entities provides the opportunity to review lessons
learned from local, regional and international bodies.
The remote area clinics pilot
Recognizing the community-based health care delivery
model isn’t the right fit for the full spectrum of Saudi Aramco’s operations, Vander Kolk and other members of the
leadership team took time to visit a number of the remote
areas, including Shaybah, Tanajib and Manifa. The objective of the visits was to better understand the needs of the
Saudi Aramco employees working in those areas and to
create a pilot program to improve medical services in such
As a result, the Tanajib pilot proposal was presented
and approved by the Tanajib leadership team; the pilot
Better access to on-site primary care services.
Improved access to select specialty services
Embedded preventive/wellness services provided
Modifications to the provision of emergency services.
Provision of on-site social and behavioral services.
“YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHAT
YOU DO, PATIENT CARE AND QUALITY.”
TERRY AMERINE, MBA,
JCI SURVEY EVALUATOR
Advancing health care IT in Saudi Arabia —
Epic at JHAH
JHAH is the first organization in the Kingdom to take steps
to implement what is widely regarded as the best practice in
Electronic Health Care Record (EHR) systems — Epic.
Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM),
headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland,
is a $6.7 billion integrated global health
enterprise and one of the leading health
care systems in the United States. JHM
unites physicians and scientists of The
Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine with the organizations, health
professionals and facilities of The Johns
Hopkins Hospital and Health System.
JHM’s vision, “Together, we will deliver
the promise of medicine,” is supported
by its mission to improve the health of
the community and the world by setting
the standard of excellence in medical
education, research and clinical care.
Diverse and inclusive, JHM educates
medical students, scientists, health care
professionals and the public; conducts
biomedical research; and provides
patient-centered medicine to prevent,
diagnose and treat human illness.
JHM operates six academic and
community hospitals, four suburban
health care and surgery centers, and
more than 30 primary health care
outpatient sites. The Johns Hopkins
Hospital, opened in 1889, was ranked
number one in the nation by U.S. News
& World Report for 21 years in a row
and again in 2013 for a 22nd time.
Epic is an electronic health record solution that will organize patient information, provide suggested actions and
guides for caregivers, and coordinate care across multiple
specialty settings. Implementing Epic is an ambitious program that will be executed over three to four years. The
Epic EHR implementation is scheduled to start in January
2015 with a planned launch date in early 2017.
Epic project director Robert Slepin joined the JHAH
EHR project team in August 2014. The JHAH Epic project team participated in the Epic implementation go-live and
support activities at JHM’s Suburban Hospital, Bethesda,
MD. As part of the preparation, the team first participated
in one-week, end-user classroom training along with Suburban Hospital staff in Bethesda. The team then spent an additional week at the command center in Baltimore and onsite at the hospital to participate in cutover and post go-live
The new JHAH department of Health Information Technology (HIT) has also contributed to the quality of clinical care by starting radiology image sharing with The Johns
Hopkins Hospital (JHH). HIT facilitated the technical configuration to allow upload of JHAH radiology images to the
JHH medical website for complex cases requiring a second
opinion from JHH medical staff.
Patient safety — Armstrong Institute
Substantial progress has been achieved to develop a sustainable framework for patient safety and quality within JHAH.
Led by Sharon Myers, chief quality and patient safety officer, the first eight teams have been established as part of the
quality and patient safety plan. Additional teams and training will take place in later phases of the quality and patient
safety plan execution.
The inaugural International Patient Safety
Conference — Dhahran, January 2015
The International Patient Safety
Conference for JHAH will be
held in collaboration with
the Johns Hopkins’ Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
and the King Fahad Specialist Hospital (Dammam). Patient safety is a
critical aspect of elevating
the quality of clinical care
within the Kingdom. Health
care in the United States is facing
a similar challenge; it is estimated that the deaths caused by
preventable harm are equivalent to two Boeing 747 airliners
crashing every day. As well as providing valuable training to
attendees, it is hoped that this conference will be a part of igniting an influential and Kingdomwide dialogue around improving the safety and quality of care delivery.
screening and infection control related to the Ebola virus,
The International Patient Safety Conference keynote adMERS-CoV and infectious diseases.
dress will be delivered by Peter Pronovost, M.D., director
The JHAH Emergof the Johns Hopkins’
ing Infectious Diseases
Taskforce has underfor Patient Safety and
“JOHNS HOPKINS ARAMCO HEALTHCARE
taken a comprehenQuality. The winIS A POINT OF EXCELLENCE IN HEALTH
sive review of current
ner of several nationCARE DELIVERY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
procedures and is imal awards, including
AND THE WORLD.”
the 2004 John Eisenprecautionary and preberg Patient Safety
ENRICO BALDANTONI, M.D.
ventive measures. At
Research Award and
JCI SURVEY TEAM LEADER
the recommendation of
a coveted MacArthur
the taskforce, experts
Fellowship in 2008,
from JHM developed a training course for licensed cliniknown popularly as the “genius grant”; Pronovost was
cians, i.e., emergency nurses, primary care nurses, physinamed by Time magazine as one of the world’s 100 “most
cians and other health care providers, on how to protect
influential people” for his work in patient safety, and he
patients and themselves from Ebola. The course took place
regularly addresses the U.S. Congress on the importance of
at JHAH Dhahran in early November, and covered aspects
of the screening protocols and the protective equipment
the health care workers require to screen and safely care
Contributing to the well-being of the Kingdom
for Ebola patients.
The primary objective of the course was to impart
In recent times, emerging viral infections have become a
knowledge about the signs and symptoms of infectious disglobal concern. JHAH medical personnel and Saudi Arameases and the proper precautions to prevent the infection
co staff have proudly worked with the Saudi government
and other partners to help advance the Kingdom’s infection
control and response infrastructure and public health policy. JHAH has provided equipment, manpower and technical knowledge to hospitals dealing with MERS-CoV cases.
These activities have included education and clinical support via visits to hospitals across the Kingdom. The JHAH
leadership has coordinated services from JHM-Baltimore to
provide expertise in the evaluation and response to the outbreak. At this time, the JHAH staff continues to provide
JUNE 23, 2013 : Saudi
ongoing support for the King Abdullah Medical Complex
Aramco and Johns Hopkins Medicine
in Jiddah with staffing support and training.
Through knowledge sharing and collaboration, JHAH
International, L.L.C. (JHI), the
has already begun to play a valuable role within the Kinginternational arm of JHM, signed a joint
dom. In recognition of this growing spirit of alliance, in Ocventure agreement to establish a new
tober, JHAH welcomed His Excellency Adel Fakeih, Minishealth care provider for Saudi Aramco.
ter of Labor (who was acting Minister of Health during that
time). The presence at JHAH Dhahran by His Excellency
and his delegation represented the first ever official visit to
JANUARY 28, 2014 :
the facilities by a Minister of Health. The visit included an
Ceremonial inauguration of Johns
active and positive exchange of ideas centered on empowerHopkins Aramco Healthcare Company
ing JHAH to reach its full potential and fulfill its role as a
catalyst for change within the Kingdom’s health care sector.
takes place in Dhahran.
Heightened preparedness — JHAH conducts Ebola
training for frontline medical staff
Over the past months, JHAH has attempted to provide
ongoing education, relevant updates and information to
JHAH personnel and patients about Ebola and MERSCoV. This has included training, education, Medical Grand
Rounds, emails and videos. JHAH leaders and staff are
collaborating with JHM to provide JHAH personnel with
the most relevant education and training on protocols for
MAY 21, 2014 : Marked the
“first day” that Johns Hopkins Aramco
Healthcare began providing medical
services in place of Saudi Aramco
Medical Services Organization.
Investing in human capital
from spreading from patient to health care worker and the
community. Experts from JHI provided training to 50 cliniTo function as an independent organization has required
cians from Dhahran and the district hospitals.
the creation of new departments to deliver services that hisThe two-day course was one aspect of the ongoing and
torically were provided by Saudi Aramco. These areas incomprehensive response to emerging viral infections, such
clude: law, finance, information technology, marketing and
as Ebola and MERS-CoV by JHAH. Following the successcommunications, and human resources. The JHAH Human
ful completion of this program and additional training acResources Department has developed the requisite compencreditation, the clinicians
sation program, benefits
will be sharing their knowlpackage, orientation pro“MANPOWER IS THE BIGGEST
edge as part of a “train the
gram and policies and proCHALLENGE THAT THE SAUDI HEALTH
trainer” approach. Dr. Jafcedures and is now activeCARE SYSTEM FACES.”
far Al-Tawfiq, chairman of
ly seeking to attract high
the taskforce, commented,
quality national and interDR. MAHMOUD AL YAMANY, CEO,
“JHAH, in collaboration
national health care talent.
KING FAHD MEDICAL CITY
with Johns Hopkins, is takJHAH Marketing & Coming the necessary steps from
munications is working
education to training of clinicians to be prepared for any powith Saudi Aramco Staffing Services and Saudi National
tential emerging infectious disease. These preparations lay the Recruitment to create an independent and consistent “look
foundation for future training across the health care system.”
and feel” for JHAH.
Although a serious concern, Ebola does not pose an imThe competitive total rewards package has been positivemediate risk within Saudi Arabia at this time and no cases
ly received by prospective candidates and progress on hiring
have been confirmed within the Kingdom.
is moving forward swiftly.