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March 20, 2003

UPMC wins 2 awards

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has received two achievement awards from the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) for its efforts to protect patients, hospital staff and the general community against bioterrorism.

The HAP achievement awards program recognizes health care professionals who have developed innovative, adaptable projects that enhance patient satisfaction and health care quality, and that produce cost savings and other efficiencies.

UPMC received one award in the communications strategies category for its “Combating Bioterrorism Through Effective Communications” plan, which enacted the UPMC MedCall Terrorism Response and Information Center shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

MedCall, originally developed by UPMC 14 years ago, is an extensive 24/7 physician-tracking system that includes immediate contact information for more than 11,000 UPMC physicians. Containing more than 400 on-call schedules, MedCall is considered among the largest electronic physician-tracking systems in the United States.

UPMC received a second award in the employee relations category for its “Bioterrorism Preparedness: Safety Link — Training for Staff.”

Safety Link, which was developed by the UPMC Bioterrorism Preparedness Group’s communications task force, is a series of educational sessions to help managers and staff better understand their role in the event of a disaster or emergency. The Safety Link program is designed to include detailed information on how to respond to a specific disaster, whether natural or humanmade.

To date, more than 16,000 UPMC employees have received training in bioterrorism preparedness. The training was specific to each department and included everyone from parking attendants, security guards and hospital administrators to emergency medicine personnel. Additionally, nearly 500 UPMC staff identified as emergency first responders received specialized training in the use of personal protection equipment.

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