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Patient Safety Awareness

Last Modified: 3/14/2020

Patient Safety

While there is progress being made every day in patient safety, it’s still an area that can be improved upon. Preventing harm in health care settings continues to be a top priority. Anna Belote, director of safety, Parkview Health, expands on the importance of patient safety and what Parkview Health is doing to further that cause.

What is Patient Safety Awareness Week?

Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual recognition event intended to encourage everyone to learn more about health care safety. During this week, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) seeks to advance important discussions locally and globally and inspire action to improve the safety of the health care system — for patients and the workforce.

What does this week mean to you?

Patient Safety Awareness Week is an opportunity to highlight and showcase what our safety team does every day, working collaboratively with our clinical team to provide safe care to our patients.

What is your role?

The role of the safety team is to be a resource for our clinical and support services teams, but also a partner to them as they care for patients. We provide training and education on safe patient handling, injury prevention and just-in-time information on safety trends. We are here to serve our coworkers and to help keep them safe.

What is your overall goal?

We have a saying amongst our safety team, “It isn’t patient safety OR coworker safety, it’s both/and.” We cannot have safe patients without safe coworkers, and we cannot have safe coworkers if our patients are not safe. We want all coworkers to go home in the same condition they came into work and we want zero harm for all our patients.

What measures does the healthcare system take to keep co-workers and patients safe?

We take the safety of our co-workers and patients very seriously. These are just a few of the ways we accomplish that:

  1. We provide education, upon hire, to all coworkers on injury prevention.
  2. We train on a wide array of topics including, but not limited to the appropriate equipment to safely move and transfer patients.
  3. We conduct routine safety rounds in all departments and speak with coworkers on the importance of implementing safety best practices.
  4. We have safety committees that are comprised of front-line coworkers to help guide us and to better understand the needs of our co-workers.
  5. We have Patient and Family Advisory Committees to get feedback and input from previous patients, and their families, on how we can provide the best and safest care possible.
How is safe/quality healthcare reported or measured?

Our safety team has a variety of metrics we measure to ensure we are meeting our goals. We are constantly evaluating the data we receive from our safety rounds and respond quickly to any safety concerns. We utilize the feedback we receive from our co-workers so we can continually assess and improve upon our objectives.

Why is measuring/reporting so important?

We cannot monitor what we cannot measure, so it’s critical that we know where we are at all times with our metrics. It’s also imperative that we’re communicating with our leaders when we’re seeing trends, both positive and negative. That helps the team to course correct when needed.

What challenges do you frequently face?

With almost 14,000 co-workers and a steady stream of patients each day, it can be a challenge trying to connect with everyone and provide them with what they need without pulling them away from the bedside. Trying to find that balance can be difficult, but we are always looking for creative ways to share information and improve.

How do you resolve those challenges?

One way we work toward resolving challenges is by valuing coworker, leader and patient feedback. We want and need to know if our tactics and initiatives surrounding safety are working and adding value. And although safety doesn’t have a patient satisfaction score, we know that our presence in the clinical departments for coworkers and patients is important.

What are some ways you continue to advance safe health care?

Parkview continues to partner with other learning collaboratives such as the IHI Leadership Alliance as well as tapping into our affiliations with leading practice organizations to continue to grow our safety and quality programs. All of this provides a safer environment for our co-workers and patients.

Final thoughts

The safety team is a group of very passionate and dedicated individuals who love what they do. We are committed to serving both patients and co-workers. Much of what we do is behind the scenes, but if you see your safety coordinator, please thank them for what they do every day to keep everyone safe.

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