Indianapolis, IN---With patient safety a top priority in all of its hospitals and sites of care, Community Health Network continues to implement safety measures aimed at reducing harmful medical errors. The initiatives give staff the tools they need to make each day in the health care setting a safe day. Community is working towards creating a culture of safety for employees that reduces human error, which can lead to events of harm.
An increasingly popular and effective tool utilized by Community for more than two years is a daily safety call. Every morning, including weekend mornings, operational leaders at each hospital join a 15-minute conference call led by a senior leader to discuss clinical conditions and potential risks that may impact patient safety. The calls have also been instituted across outpatient sites, such as medical pavilions, MedCheck walk-in care centers, physical therapy, and behavioral care. The goal is to identify and solve potential safety issues in order to prevent harm.
The calls provide a mechanism for anticipating risks before they become safety events. Potential risks may include: a new piece of equipment that has never been used; a very critical patient; a new high-risk medication; an employee safety issue; anything new or different, like opening a new unit or service; a facility issue that poses a safety hazard; a social safety issue involving patients, family members or employees; and a change in a computer process.
“The daily calls are a leadership-adopted safety tool from the nuclear power industry,” said Trudy Hill, clinical patient safety officer for Community Health Network. “Nuclear power plants implemented daily calls to recognize and fix problems early on—before leading to catastrophic disasters. The health care industry can learn many lessons from the nuclear power industry, since a medical error can be fatal.”
CommunityHospital North has become a benchmark for hospitals nationwide on the daily safety call, according to Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI), a national health care consulting firm that introduced the daily safety call concept to Community. HPI is a firm that specializes in human performance reliability in complex systems and works with more than 200 hospitals in the U.S. Hospital leaders across the country have listened in on Community North’s safety calls to learn best practices and implement the calls in their own organizations.
“These daily check-ins create a shared situational awareness about safety,” said Carole Stockmeier, partner and practice director of HPI. “For the senior leader, it gives a real-time sense of what’s happening at the front line. For operational leaders, it contributes to an awareness of what’s going on across the house and how operations in each department impact the big picture.”
During the daily safety call, hospitals focus on looking back at significant safety or quality issues from the last 24 hours/last shift. Then, they look ahead and anticipate safety or quality issues in the next 24 hours. At the end of the call, operational leaders are tasked with following up (with a sense of urgency) on an issue that may impact patient safety. They are given a time frame to report back to a senior leader any action steps identified.
“This is one tool we utilize to show our employees that leaders are aware of issues impacting patient safety,” said Clif Knight, M.D., chief medical officer of Community Health Network. “We believe patient safety comes first with everything we do--and we stress that to all of our employees.” Knight was recently appointed to the National Quality Forum’s (NFQ’s) Patient Safety Measures Steering Committee, which endorses national patient safety measures.
Community Health Network has established a number of patient safety initiatives, in addition to the daily safety calls. These include:
- Patient Safety Education (mandatory human error prevention classes for all employees and physicians)
- Leadership Safety rounds, where a senior leader is regularly assigned to a nursing unit or department to discuss safety issues staff may be encountering
- Safety Coach Programs, which ensure leadership and peer-to-peer accountability for meeting patient safety expectations (a staff member is chosen to be a coach to observe other staff members on the job and give real-time feedback to reinforce safe practices)
- The Adoption of the one Red Rule for Safety (a Red Rule is a rule that is critical for patient safety and is expected to be performed each time care is provided. The intention is for care givers to verify and match patient identification before giving medication, treatment or performing a procedure or test)
- Speak Up for Safety Initiative, in which all staff are encouraged to speak up if they see a safety concern
Community Health Network is an active member of the Indianapolis Coalition for Patient Safety, which works with all Indianapolis hospitals to establish standardized safety protocols in a non-competing environment.
About Community Health Network
Ranked among the nation’s most integrated health care networks, Community Health Network has more than 90 sites of care and nearly 500 integrated physicians throughout central Indiana. This includes Community Hospitals East, North and South in Indianapolis and Community Hospital Anderson; The Indiana Heart Hospital, part of Community Heart and Vascular; Indiana Surgery Centers; Community Physicians of Indiana; Community Home Health Services; MedCheck walk-in care centers and MedCheck Express convenience clinics; employer health services; nursing homes; and other health care facilities. Community Health Network is committed to getting you well and back to your life. For more information about Community Health Network or to find a physician, call 800-777-7775 or visit eCommunity.com.