UM Hospitals Win Award As Nation’s Safest: The University of Michigan hospitals are among the safest and most effective hospitals in the country, according to a new national ranking from the Leapfrog Group. The announcement was made at Tuesday night’s 10th anniversary meeting for Leapfrog, a respected independent health care quality rating organization. The UM Hospitals and Health Centers is among 65 institutions named 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals, based on a rating system that provides a detailed assessment of a hospital’s safety and quality. The top hospitals list includes university and other teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings. UM is one of four Michigan hospitals on the list. “Receiving this national award validates the intense focus that we have given to improving patient safety,” says Doug Strong, CEO of the UM Hospitals and Health Centers. “Although we are well above average in many areas of patient safety, we emphasize the need for continuous improvement.” Some recent successes include the following, a 40-percent reduction in infections at the site of surgical procedures, reduced medication errors, improved hand hygiene by clinical staff and required flu shots for clinical staff. The 2010 Top Hospitals list is based on nearly 1,200 hospitals that responded to the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey. The survey focuses on four critical areas of patient safety: the use of computer physician order entry to prevent medication errors; standards for doing high-risk procedures such as heart surgery; protocols and policies to reduce medical errors and other safe practices recommended by the National Quality Forum; and adequate nurse and physician staffing. In addition, hospitals are measured on their progress in preventing infections and other hospital-acquired conditions and adopting policies on the handling of serious medical errors, among other things. The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded a decade ago to work for improvements in health care safety, quality and affordability. A complete list of 2010 Leapfrog Top Hospitals is available at its Web site. The University of Michigan Health System includes the UM Hospitals & Health Centers, which comprises three hospitals and dozens of outpatient health centers and clinics; the UM Medical School with its Faculty Group Practice and extensive research and education programs; the clinical operations of the UM School of Nursing; and the Michigan Health Corp. The three UM hospitals are University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.

NCMS Honored With Defense Excellence Awards: The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences in Ann Arbor announced Wednesday that two of its projects have been honored with Defense Manufacturing Excellence Awards presented by the National Center for Advanced Technologies for outstanding cooperative efforts on technology development between government, industry and academia. These two achievements mark the eighth and ninth of these prestigious awards for NCMS projects. Both NCMS projects were formed under the Commercial Technologies for Maintenance Activities program, a unique NCMS collaboration with the Department of Defense. Winning in the category of Collaborative Team Small Business was a project to Modernize Metal Electroplating with No-Mask Conforming Anodes. NCMS managed this innovative R&D project working with Corpus Christi Army Depot, Naval Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, Advanced Tooling Corp. and CAI Resources to reduce the cost and environmental impact of the electroplating process. The project team created a completely unique approach to a technological process that had otherwise gone largely unchanged for nearly a century. The project’s No-Mask Conforming Anodes resulted in amazing reductions in process time and $990,000 in immediate savings from the two most recent pilots. The process all but eliminates toxic hazardous waste resulting from masking materials found in previous methods. Reusable, sustainable, and highly efficient, No-Mask Conforming Anodes promises to revolutionize the world of electroplating. The team estimates that if this technology were deployed across the DoD, a savings of over $50 million could result over the next three years alone, with an overall process time improvement of 35 to 50 percent, all translating into improved readiness for the warfighter and reliability of platforms. Limited deployment has already generated an additional $7.3 million in savings. For more information visit In the category of Collaborative Team Large Business Category the winner was a project called Automated Robotic Blade Stripping System. NCMS brought together the Keyport Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Naval Fleet Readiness Center East, Penn State Applied Research Laboratory, General Lasertronics Corp., Sikorsky Aircraft Co. and Michigan based Koops Inc. to create an improvement for the refurbishment of helicopter blades. FRC East refurbishes up to 150 helicopter rotor blades each month. First, workers must remove the topcoat of paint using air-driven orbital sanders. The slow, error-prone process demands hours of tedious labor in a sweltering, hazardous environment. Personnel must wear protection equipment to avoid toxic dust inhalation and stress injuries, fatigue, and lost time are significant problems. The precision required stripping only the paint off of a blade while leaving the primer coat intact also ensures many damaged parts. Determined to improve this process with advanced laser and vision systems, the NCMS-managed ARBSS team developed a proven automated robotic laser paint stripping technology that strips helicopter blades 75 percent faster than traditional methods, with practically zero error. This process is expected to save $900,000 annually, eliminates the generation of secondary hazardous waste, and provides an unprecedented level of safety and comfort for the maintainers. For more information on other NCMS’ collaborations and past award winning projects, please visit

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