Patient safety has always been a priority at Proctor. However, in May 2009, the board of directors adopted safety as a core organizational value and strategic priority. Because patients and families already expect that we provide a safe place to receive care, safety has become central to our culture.
Integrating safety into the cultural fabric of any organization means clear and concise goals must be established, understood and demonstrated in all that you do. Leadership is crucial so all key stakeholders at Proctor are engaged in the culture of safety, including the board of directors, our medical staff, department heads and employees at every level, as well as our patients.
A culture of safety means it is a shared belief; that it is seen and felt throughout the organization, within its policies and its structure; that it is measured, this data is communicated, acted on and continuously improved.
Individuals at all levels at Proctor are engaged in this priority. To demonstrate leadership’s commitment to safety and transparency, we have established patient safety executive walk-rounds. This provides everyone, in every department, an opportunity to discuss any concerns relevant to patient safety, and share successes that benefit others. The focus of the walk-round is about the system and processes in place, not individuals. It’s all about creating a better and safer environment for patients, visitors and staff.
Earlier this year, an employee culture of safety assessment was performed at all levels of the organization. The results have been used to help prioritize and implement changes. Again, keeping everyone, at every level, engaged in safety, helps establish it as part of the culture.
Utilizing tools such as Lean and 6 Sigma methodologies help remove barriers, improve communication and processes, and establish goals and benchmarks for future review and comparison.
Patients and their families are also key stakeholders so their involvement is vitally important. And as suggested by The Joint Commission, “It is well recognized that the individual’s involvement in care decisions is not only an identified right, but is a necessary source of accurate assessment and treatment information.”
Through organization-wide programs such as “It’s OK to Ask,” patients and families are encouraged to ask questions, to report any practices they feel are unsafe, and to become more involved in their treatment plans. Patients and loved ones communicate more readily and openly about subjects ranging from medications to the need for particular procedures, test results, and any time something just doesn’t seem quite right—it’s okay to ask. One thing is certain—maintaining an honest and transparent dialogue about safety means barriers will be lifted and inadequate processes eliminated.
Physicians and staff are participating in a number of initiatives, including The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals and other standards.
Reporting patient safety and core measures data, and partnering with organizations such as The Joint Commission, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Hospital Association, the Agency for Healthcare Research and the Quality Survey and Patient Safety Culture provide important benchmarking and educational information that is used to measure and improve our performance. Core measures are the “recommended treatments for some of the most common and costly conditions that hospitals treat.” Utilization of core quality measures help to provide “snapshots” of the quality of care that we provide.
Proctor’s collaboration with the Illinois Hospital Association and Johns Hopkins University provides a valuable information exchange of best practices regarding infection control issues such as central line infections. This partnership draws national and regional experts together in face-to-face discussion to develop new strategies and remove barriers in an effort to reduce central line-associated blood stream infections and improve overall patient safety.
Everywhere within our organization, important work is at hand to make our patients safe. Because safety is no longer simply a “priority,” it’s part of the fabric of who we are. It’s our mission …“To provide unmatched healthcare experiences…every day.” And it’s our vision …“Committed to be your most trusted healthcare partner.” iBi