5 Patient Safety Success Stories in Healthcare

  • October 11, 2016
  • Antique Nguyen
  • Approx. Read Time: 3 Minutes

Embracing the importance of establishing a strong culture of patient safety is critical to every healthcare organization’s long-term success. Whether it’s through adopting new technology or fostering open communication, every strategy must be designed to deliver high-quality care and a safe practicing environment.

Earlier this year, Oregon Patient Safety Commission highlighted some of their top neighboring healthcare facilities and their notable achievements toward patient safety. As you and your team review your organization’s patient safety initiatives, consider these five practices that have proven to produce positive outcomes.

1. South Hills Rehabilitation Center: Partners with Residents

When issues were reported with the alarms at South Hills, the staff met with the residents to understand how the alarms were affecting their lives. Residents shared that while the alarms were intended to prevent falls at the facility, the noise was actually disruptive and could possibly be contributing to the falls.

As a result, South Hills began removing alarms for a small test group of residents and then gradually had them completely removed from the entire facility and replaced with call lights. This transition not only resulted in a decrease in falls, but residents also reported having improved sleep and even less skin problems because they were free to reposition themselves without fear of setting off the alarm.

2. Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children: Employs Technology

In 2015, Providence Center for Medically Fragile Children (CMFC) started working to improve their medication administration safety by moving to an electronic medical records system and incorporating medication barcode technology. The former manual process did not have strong safeguards to prevent medications to be administered to the wrong person. This new system provides a valuable barcode verification that assures the medication barcode matches the child’s.

This transition to barcode verification was proven to be worthwhile because shortly after, CMFC reported that a staff member who was preparing a medication for one of the children was immediately alerted when their scanner identified the recipient’s barcode did not match the prescribed medication in the system. This potentially disastrous oversight was prevented before it occurred.

3. Providence Portland Medical Center: Uses High Reliability

Providence Portland has incorporated high-reliability practices into their routine by performing daily safety huddles. Hospital department leaders gather for 15 minutes every day to examine patient safety issues that have taken place in the last 24 hours and identify safety issues that may potentially rise in the next 24 hours. These quick huddles enable their teams to quickly communicate issues, respond to safety concerns in real time, identify common concerns across departments, and share their experiences with the entire health system.

In the event of an accident or injury, Providence Portland will conduct a root cause analysis (RCA) and send a disclosure letter to the patient with an invitation to join the conversation after the investigation and action planning has been completed. This measure helps restore the patient’s trust in the organization that may have been compromised as a result of the incident.

4. Samaritan Albany Hospital: Focuses on Fall Prevention           

To address the high volume of patients admitted into Samaritan Albany who are considered being at high risk for falls, the health system introduced a “Look at Me, Please” (LAMP) program. In the LAMP program, signs are placed on the outward facing doors of high-risk patient rooms, which alerts every passing staff member—regardless of their role in the hospital—to check in on the patient. Not only does this add an extra layer of safety to the traditional rounding techniques, it brings everyone in the organization, from physicians to nurses, to nutrition staff and housekeeping, into the care of that patient.

5. Corvallis Clinic Surgery Center: Promotes Open Communication

Corvallis Clinic developed a written notification process that followed serious adverse events to openly communicate with their patients about what happened and what was being done to prevent it from happening again in the future. Its success was achieved only through the commitment of leadership, providers, and staff who recognized the value of transparency and apology—as well as the significance of openly communicating in cases of unexpected harm.

Krista Bass, the infection prevention nurse for Corvallis Clinic, says, “Being transparent about adverse events [is] an important first step in addressing patient safety issues.” Implementing the written notification process required support from various members in the organization, specifically our legal department, providers and leadership team. Everyone needed to come to an agreement about not only providing written notification, but on how to relay the information to the patient, Bass says.

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