4 steps to achieve a safer hospital

September 27, 2016 Laura Kavanagh

We all want the same thing: safer hospitals for staff and patients. One of the biggest components to achieving safety in hospitals is reporting, because without actionable data it’s hard to know where to start or what to do next. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to turn to your staff and simply say “go forth and report”— when is anything ever that easy? No, creating a safety reporting community takes work and won’t happen overnight. But when it’s all said and done, it’ll be well worth the time and effort.

So now you’re pumped. Can’t wait to get started. What should you do first? We’re glad you asked! Here are four easy steps to help you achieve a safer hospital.

Ready, set, GOAL
Before implementing any new strategy for process improvement, it’s important to clearly define the goals your organization wishes to achieve with this initiative. Reasons can range from wanting to boost reporting by engaging front-line staff, reinforce a nonpunitive culture to educating front-line users in reporting workflows. Setting goals can help you define your steps, help you stay on course and provide a reference point when outlining successes.

Create a Committee
Gather a core group of employees who share the same goals, objectives and passions to help you kick-start the initiative. No one ever said this project had to sit squarely on your shoulders. You can even approach people from other departments to help gain new perspectives. This way you have a group of supportive people who you can bounce ideas off of and who doesn’t love a cheerleading section when trying to get the buy-in from others.

Share information
Find creative ways to share information with your staff. Keeping them up to speed with the ongoings, be it findings achieved through reporting or best practices is a great way to ensure they stay engaged. A newsletter, both digital and physical, is one way you can do this. You may also want to consider centralized e-learning and forum promotions to help educate and support performance improvement.

Don’t forget to let other employees get involved in the process by giving them the opportunity to submit ideas for the newsletter, and share their feedback with the team.

Make it an in-person effort
Some people are still prefer one on one interaction, where they can ask and get their questions answered right away. So, get up from your desk (patients aren’t the only ones who should get rounds!), walk the halls and see if there’s anything you can help with. Better yet, create designated office hours where staff can drop in and ask you questions about the system and share concerns with you privately.

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