Tennessee Improving Patient Safety (TIPS) Awards Program

Recognizing Excellence in Improving Quality and Patient Safety

The Tennessee Improving Patient Safety (TIPS) Award recognizes health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes in Tennessee

Program Description


The goals of the Patient Safety Awards Program are to raise awareness of the need for an organizational commitment to exceptional patient-centered efforts to create and improve systems that will ultimately improve the quality of care and to communicate successful programs and strategies to other health care providers.

The Tennessee Improving Patient Safety Awards Program honors healthcare organizations that:

  1. Have committed to achieving health care that is patient centered and system based. 
  2. Can document progress in achieving multiple aims. 
  3. Can demonstrate proven reduction in errors and/or risk of errors with improvements in patient safety and quality of care.



There are eight  categories to be recognized: (1) Hospitals under 100 beds, (2) Hospitals with 100-299 beds, (3) Hospitals over 300 beds, (4) Long Term Care- Nursing Homes, (5) Long Term Care- Assisted Care Living and Residential Homes for the Aged, (6) Community Partnerships or Coalitions (7) Health Care Systems and (8) Other- includes, but not limited to Ambulatory Surgical Treatment Centers, Alcohol and Drug Centers, Physician Practices, End-Stage Renal Dialysis clinics, etc.

Awards may not necessarily be given in each category every year depending on the applications submitted.

Evaluation Components

In the submitted entry, each applicant must demonstrate participation in or implementation of programs/initiatives that have been proven to reduce errors and/or risk of errors, improve patient safety and outcomes. The program/initiative must have been developed and implemented for at least six months in order to be considered. Each application will be evaluated on a point system based on the following components:

  • Data driven (20%)
  • Leadership commitment and support (20%)
  • Performance Improvement action(s) and results (15%)
  • Creativity and innovation (15%)
  • Practical to implement and administer (10%)
  • Transferable across settings and organizations (10%)
  • Multi-disciplinary team participation (10%)

For unbiased evaluation by the TIPS’ Awards Committee, the entries will be blinded throughout the process. This evaluation committee will be composed of representatives from Tennessee Improving Patient Safety Coalition who have expertise in quality and patient safety.


Award winning achievements will be published on the Tennessee Department of Health website at www.tennessee.gov/health/as well as, through local newspapers, newsletters and other publications.

Instructions for Submission

The award application consists of three (3) sections:  (a) completed applicant demographic sheet; (b) entry abstract; and, (c) project narrative.  In completing your application please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The project narrative and entries/abstracts must not refer to the organization or facility name, or contain any other demographic information that could identify the applicant during the evaluation of the abstract and narrative sections.
  • An entry abstract must accompany each submission. The entry abstract can not have more than 500 words. The abstract must be typed, single spaced and able to fit on 81/2 by 11 inch paper using a size 10 or larger font.
  • The project narrative should contain an explanation of the improvement project and describe how the project addressed the key evaluation components: data driven, creativity; practicality; leadership commitment and support; transferable across settings; performance improvement actions and results; multi-disciplinary teams. There is no page limitation for the project narrative.  The project narrative must be typed, single spaced and able to fit on 81/2 by 11 inch paper using a size 10 or larger font.
  • Each page should have a heading and a page number.
  • A maximum of five additional pages are allowed for the graphs, figures and data tables that should be part of the appendices. Graphs should be in black and white.
  • Entries may be submitted either hardcopy or via electronic email with an attachment in a MS Word (97 or newer version) format. Entries should be submitted to:  (ok)
  • All Applicants are encouraged to develop a poster presentation of their safety improvement project for display at the Annual Tennessee Patient Safety Symposium, September 5, 2007.

Entry Deadline

5:00 p.m. CST, July 20, 2007. 


There is no fee to submit an entry for the Tennessee Improving Patient Safety (TIPS) Award.

Date Activity
July 20, 2007 All entries for the TIPS Award must be received at the above address.
August 15, 2007 All winners will be notified and asked to attend an evening awards reception on September 5, 2007, during the Tennessee Annual Patient Safety Symposium

Possible Topic Areas

Award applications should consider the following topics. (Source: National Patient Safety Foundation Solutions Initiative 2000)

  • Non-Punitive Environment for Error Reporting and Disclosure Solutions that have overcome the environmental barriers to error reporting, diagnosis, and disclosure. Non-punitive ways to measure errors that lead to better understanding of the causes and of failure. Indicators or ways to identify the potential for error. 
  • Clinical Solutions Ways to reduce errors, i.e., in anesthesia, diagnostics, surgery, medication dispensing, etc.
  • Systems Error Reduction Ways leadership can foster environments that support error disclosure and ameliorate internal cultural obstacles that may impede safer health care practices. Human factors, risk management, and other strategies that have improved patient safety.
  • Technical Solutions Innovations in the product development sector that assist systems and clinicians in measurably reducing the incidence of error, avoidable patient injury, and associated costs. 
  • Educational Solutions “Systems learning” approaches that encourage deeper understandings of error, responsibility and the dynamic interaction between human, technological, and organizational factors in high-risk settings. 
  • Cultural Solutions Patient empowerment programs and productive patient/clinician partnership approaches to prevent harm. Innovation in the development of values systems, incentives alignment, consumer outreach activities, and communication and information feedback programs. 
  • Environmental Solutions Ways to modify the legal environment, which currently emphasizes fault and punishment. Alternative ways of resolving claims of patient injury. Innovative use of legal or alternative dispute mechanisms to promote accountability and prevent injury. Ways the media have advanced patient rights and drawn attention to patient safety. Strategies used by accrediting and regulatory agencies to maintain standards for measurement and accountability, while simultaneously fostering an external environment that stimulates the disclosure of information about risk and error. 
  • Patient Provider Communication Solutions Demonstrated strategy and results to improve care delivery and patient satisfaction through enhanced patient-physician communication. Effective and appropriate education and intervention programs in place for health care providers at risk.