When it comes to safety, hospitals are simply one of the those places in which an unspoken expectation for it exists. After all, it is a place where some of the brightest minds have come together to mend the broken, nurse the ill, and save lives. So, it’s no wonder that there is a natural emphasis for it in our hospitals. But, what people don’t realize is what it takes, the collaboration, and the hard work that goes into ensuring that a hospital is as safe as can be for every patient, visitor and staff that step foot inside.
The question then, for those of you who work tirelessly to uphold your hospitals integrity when it comes to safety, is how can I accomplish this best? The answer, if we’re being completely truthful is that it’s different for every organization, as no two hospitals are the same in size, processes, goals and even the people themselves.
At Bassett Medical Center, emerging worries about the culture of safety became apparent in mid-2014. Patient safety event reporting was “stalled out,” and near miss reporting was declining. Leaders were not communicating in a meaningful way about safety concerns. Event investigation and resolution was significantly delayed. Finally, repeat issues were surfacing that were thought to have been “fixed” previously. Bassett Medical Center embarked on developing a safety huddle structure and system that employed a number of novel approaches in order to encourage and sustain engagement and accountability. As a result, the huddle quickly became an embedded and beloved part of the organization’s safety infrastructure. The resulting success has exceeded expectations.