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, quality, and efficient care that we’d want for ourselves, our families and our friends.

The fall 2019 Hospital Safety Grade report was released today by independent hospital watchdog, The Leapfrog Group, reflecting HCA Healthcare’s culture of safety. 80.98% of HCA Healthcare hospitals received an “A” or “B” Safety Grade, outperforming the national average of 58%.

HCA Healthcare hospitals Rose Medical Center and St. David’s Medical Center received Leapfrog’s “Straight A” designation, for receiving an “A” grade in every update of the twice-annual Hospital Safety Scores, which launched in 2012.

“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 leveraging artificial intelligence to help 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.

Leading a culture of safety

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, Dr. Kenneth Sands, 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.

“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.

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

  • nurturing safety discussions or huddles,
  • providing transparent, timely feedback,
  • 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 and
  • promoting the development of a safe climate for reporting.

“Creating a culture of safety where employees feel empowered to speak up is a key component to the journey,”  says Sharon Hickman, assistant vice president and patient 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 voluntary reporting is key to identifying system improvements that can prevent patient harm,” adds Hickman.  “We are in a great position to learn from each other and share across the enterprise.”

Our care is first and foremost on our patients. Thank you to our colleagues who have an unwavering commitment to safe, superior, patient-centered care.

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is a bi-annual grading assigning “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” and “F” letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. It is the nation’s only rating focused entirely on patient safety—preventable errors, accidents, injuries and infections.

HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services, comprising 184 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 21 states and the United Kingdom. With its founding in 1968, HCA Healthcare created a new model for hospital care in the United States, using combined resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine. HCA Healthcare has conducted a number of clinical studies, including one that demonstrated that full-term delivery is healthier than early elective delivery of babies and another that identified a clinical protocol that can reduce bloodstream infections in ICU patients by 44 percent. HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its more than 31 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives.