Happy Patient Safety Awareness Week 2019!

HCA Healthcare has been an industry leader in patient safety long before it was an established discipline. It is first and foundational for who we are as an organization and what we stand for – safe, high-quality, and efficient care that we’d want for ourselves, our families and our friends.

That’s why we are pleased to partner with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) “United for Patient Safety” campaign and commemorative Patient Safety Awareness Week.

“At HCA Healthcare, we have a long-standing commitment to a culture of safety,” said Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s president, clinical services, and chief medical officer. “From being one of the first hospital systems to implement bar-coded medication administration to developing much of the evidence and worldwide practice standards for safe deliveries, as well as our leadership in using artificial intelligence to save lives of patients with sepsis, we know that safe practice and high reliability involve more than luck.”

“Together with partners across our system, we are a learning health system that engineers quality and safety into our care to improve outcomes and save lives,” Dr. Perlin adds of HCA Healthcare’s long-standing patient safety priority.

Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s president, clinical services, and chief medical officer

Dr. Perlin was on a panel of experts that produced the 2017 report Leading a Culture of Safety: A Blueprint for Success. This resource was designed to be used as a practical guide for leaders to establish and maintain a culture of safety in their organizations.

In fact, Kenneth Sands, MD, chief patient safety officer at HCA Healthcare, and assistant vice president Sharon Hickman, our organization’s safety engineer, use the blueprint to partner with regional leaders across the enterprise in advancing a culture of safety.

Dr. Kenneth Sands, HCA Healthcare’s chief epidemiologist and chief patient safety officer

“Of course everyone wants to promote a culture of safety,” says Dr. Sands, “but the topic can feel ambiguous, and leaders need help determining the most effective approach.  The Blueprint provides concrete, practical and proven strategies to that resonate with both leaders and front line staff.”

For example, the document promotes the value of safety huddles with direct leadership involvement. “We have seen a huge uptake in the concept of holding a daily safety huddle,” adds Dr. Sands.

Errors and safety lapses can occur in any setting and take many forms but in a healthcare environment, harm resulting from errors can have a long-term or permanent impact on a patient’s physical or emotional health.

Patient safety is a team effort

Our physicians, nurses and caregivers all need to be involved in the dialogue of patient safety to ensure a safe healthcare environment. We can do that by checking and double checking each other. Reporting is one of the simple actions to take in order to share, learn and prevent errors in the future and ultimately, reduce preventable harm and improve safety throughout HCA Healthcare.

Parkridge Medical Center partners for patient safety

At HCA Healthcare, we believe in contributing to a safer environment for patients and caregivers alike, by:

  • encouraging the reporting of errors, adverse events and close calls – events or situations that, only by chance, did not produce patient harm,
  • recognizing or rewarding individuals for reporting,
  • allowing for moderate risk-taking and creativity,
  • nurturing safety discussions or huddles and providing transparent, timely feedback, and
  • promoting the development of a safe climate for reporting without fear of retribution.
Sharon Hickman, assistant vice president and safety engineer, HCA Healthcare

“Creating a culture of safety where employees feel empowered to speak up is a key component to the journey,”  says Hickman, HCA Healthcare’s safety engineer. “Great catch programs encourage and celebrate the reporting of potential errors or near miss events regarding patient safety.”

“The information we get from this is a key component to identify system and process improvements that need to be implemented to ensure that harm does not reach the patient,” adds Hickman.  “We are in a great position to learn from each other and share across the enterprise.”

West Valley Medical Center celebrates a great catch
Fairview Park Hospital applauds patient safety

For patients: partnering with your providers

Patients can help their providers achieve a safe healthcare experience by communicating important information and planning together. Share your health history with your care team and discuss any and all concerns with those that are treating you.

HCA Healthcare encourages our patients to take an active role in their daily care. There are several things that you can do to make your healthcare encounter, or a loved one’s encounter, safer:

Ask Me 3®  – ask these three questions of your healthcare provider to better understand your health condition and what you need to do to stay healthy:

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

Hand-washingthe World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that caregiver hand-washing hygiene should be performed at five key moments. If you don’t see them do it, ask if they’ve washed:

  • before touching a patient
  • before clean and aseptic procedures (e.g., inserting devices such as catheters)
  • after contact with body fluids
  • after touching a patient
  • after touching patient surroundings

Medication administrationin a hospital setting, your caregivers confirm these rights, amongst others, when giving your medications:

  • the right patient
  • the right time and frequency of administration
  • the right dose
  • the right route
  • the right drug

Patients can participate in this practice by making sure that the administrator properly identifies you or your loved one, asking what medication is being given and why, and asking how much of the medication was ordered and how often you are to receive it. Be sure to communicate not only what medications you are currently taking, but any vitamins and supplements that you are ingesting, as some can interact with each other.

Our care is first and foremost on our patients. This week we extend a special “Thank You” to Patient Safety leaders and all of our caregivers who have an unwavering commitment to superior, patient-centered care this and all weeks.

HCA Healthcare is comprised of 185 hospitals and approximately 1,800 sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 21 states and the United Kingdom. HCA Healthcare is a learning healthcare system that uses its more than 31 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives