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Communication openness and incident reporting are key factors in patient safety

Like all complex organizations, hospitals conduct surveys. There are dozens of types: patient safety, satisfaction and engagement; benchmarking and best practices; employee quote lowRessatisfaction and engagement; compliance; and many others. “Hallmark Health System employs tools such as surveys to take the pulse of our environment and develop strategies for improvement,” said Maureen Pierog, RN, MS, vice president of quality and patient safety. “While we sometimes face challenging results, we are committed to regularly hearing what’s top of mind for our stakeholders.”

Frequently, survey results can be gratifying. One example is a recent culture of safety survey of staff involved in direct patient care about patient safety. Part of the survey explored “communication openness” – whether staff felt free to speak up or question the decisions of someone in authority when they saw a potential patient safety problem.

Pierog attributed the positive result – a nearly 5 percent improvement over the previous survey – to a couple of specific efforts.

Investigating errors. “We take a no-blame approach when we look into a major adverse event. Most such events are caused by system failures rather than people failures. Our goal is to let everyone involved tell their story in a neutral atmosphere – to be nonpunitive and to put in place fail-safes so that similar events don’t happen again.” 

Patient safety reporting.With a new RL6 patient safety reporting system, “it’s much easier for staff to enter a safety concern or issue. And unlike with our old system, they can also track its progress once it’s submitted.”

Feedback from this culture of safety survey will be analyzed along with results from a recently completed employee engagement survey. “There are some similarities between the two,” Pierog added. “I’m sure we will see some common themes emerging, from which we can develop action plans that will further build on our commitment to a culture of safety at Hallmark Health.”

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