Awards, Pennock Hospital

Spectrum Health Pennock Earns State Recognition for Infection Rate Efforts

HASTINGS, Mich., June 25, 2020 – Spectrum Health Pennock’s Journey to Zero Infections project was acknowledged today by the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) with its 2020 Advancing Safe Care Award.

The MHA Advancing Safe Care Award honors health care teams within MHA-member hospitals that demonstrate a fierce commitment to providing care to different patient populations, show evidence of an improved safety culture, lead the charge for quality improvement, and demonstrate transparency in their efforts to improve health care.

The Pennock Team

The Spectrum Health Pennock team set out to eliminate surgical-site infections in November 2017, when it had a 12% infection rate for colorectal surgeries. They began implementing procedures that resulted in zero complex surgical-site infections for colorectal and joint replacement surgeries between November 2018 and December 2019, and no complex infection rates with hysterectomies since February 2019.

“Safety is always our highest priority in surgical care,” said Andrew Parsons, MD, chief of staff and clinical chair of surgery at Spectrum Health Pennock. “When we noted elevated post-surgical infection rates, we immediately went to work. Great surgical care is a collaborative effort, and as a member of Spectrum Health, we have great access to support. Our local team collaborated with digestive disease specialists and colorectal surgeons within Spectrum Health to strengthen our evidence-based treatment protocols. This involved many disciplines including nursing, nutrition, physical and occupation therapy, respiratory therapy, infectious disease, anesthesiology, the surgical care team, surgeons and many other team members.

“The amount of effort that went into making these changes has been nothing less than astounding. It truly was a group effort. We are committed to providing the best patient care possible and will continue to take advantage of the collective knowledge of our expanded teams,” Parsons explained.

The Spectrum Health Pennock team instituted a focus on mitigating underlying conditions in patients scheduled for surgery, educating and monitoring patients to address such things as diabetes management, smoking cessation and lowering body mass index. A surgical policy for standardized protocol and management plans was instituted, and preoperative staff now engage patients in personalized education and goals. Shifts or trends in noncompliant performance are shared and resulting barriers to quality are addressed.

Relevant data is communicated among departments and front-line staff, as well as with a hospital-wide committee and, ultimately, with medical executives and the board of directors. The hospital’s “speak up for safety” culture is demonstrated in the operating room by a briefing with patient participation prior to anesthetization and a time-out where staff can identify and discuss potential risks.

“Patient safety is our number one priority,” said Cheryl Sinclair, RN, surgical services manager at Spectrum Health Pennock. “There was significant collaborative work that took place not only locally but systemwide. The engagement of the team was phenomenal. As a team, we are humbled and honored to be the recipient of this award. As a leader in our surgical services department, I’m incredibly proud to work with such gifted individuals and of the work this team has done to serve our patients and improve outcomes.”

Based in greater Lansing, the MHA advocates in Michigan and Washington, DC, on behalf of health care providers and the communities and patients they serve. The MHA is a nationally recognized leader on initiatives that protect and promote quality, cost-effective and accessible healthcare. To learn more, visit or follow the MHA on Facebook and Twitter.


Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan. People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness.

Ellen Bristol
Media Relations Manager
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