At YNHH, every week is Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient safety coordinators assigned to each of the hospital's clinical units help coordinate and expand safety and quality efforts for their respective departments. At a recent weekly meeting where they discuss and compare safety issues, the patient safety coordinators reviewed reports submitted via the online event reporting system. Seated (l-r) are: Heidi Rillstone, RN, Perioperative Services, and Natalie Vinhais, RN, patient safety coordinator, Quality Improvement Support Services, SRC. Standing (l-r) are: Annalisa Porter, RN, Surgery; Nigjar Polat, medication safety coordinator, Pharmacy Services; and Jeanie Haggan, RN, Adult Emergency Department.
Patient safety coordinators assigned to each of the hospital's clinical units help coordinate and expand safety and quality efforts for their respective departments. At a recent weekly meeting where they discuss and compare safety issues, the patient safety coordinators reviewed reports submitted via the online event reporting system. Seated (l-r) are: Heidi Rillstone, RN, Perioperative Services, and Natalie Vinhais, RN, patient safety coordinator, Quality Improvement Support Services, SRC. Standing (l-r) are: Annalisa Porter, RN, Surgery; Nigjar Polat, medication safety coordinator, Pharmacy Services; and Jeanie Haggan, RN, Adult Emergency Department.

YNHH celebrated national Patient Safety Awareness Week earlier this month but patient safety is the hospital's number-one priority each and every single day of the year.

Currently, the hospital is surveying all employees on the culture of safety at YNHH and how it can be improved. The online survey has been extended and employees have until Friday, March 29 to take the 10-minute survey at www.patientsurveygroup.org/ survey/ynhhs.

"At YNHH, ensuring that all patients receive high-quality, safe care is our top priority every day of every week," said Sally Roumanis, RN, patient safety specialist, Quality Improvement Support Services.

"Over the years, we have created and strengthened a number of programs to help streamline our focus on patient safety, increase the venues for employees to share safety concerns and hold the hospital and each other accountable for making our hospital environment as safe as possible," she added.

To help achieve these goals, YNHH recently adopted the Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI) initiative, a national leader in creating safety culture improvement. Based on HPI initiatives, YNHH has instituted daily morning safety reports. In these 15-minute briefings led by the Performance Management Department, hospital leaders, patient safety staff and clinical and medical leaders discuss patient safety and quality concerns, resolutions and follow-up.

The HPI model also provides a framework for classifying safety events as serious, precursor or near-miss incidents. This system helps ensure that events are being appropriately reviewed and documented for follow-up and resolution.

"While many initiatives that identify and address patient safety issues are in place throughout the hospital, we are also working to develop concrete, easily accessible ways for employees to share and escalate patient safety concerns," said Katie Testa, manager, Quality Improvement Support Services. "Employees are the eyes and ears on patient floors — we can't address issues if we don't know about them."

Employees can report and escalate concerns related to patient safety issues by discussing concerns with a manager or clinical leader or approaching one of the patient safety and quality coordinators assigned to the clinical units.

Additionally, employees can report patient safety related incidents or near-misses to the Great Catch program by sending an email to greatcatch@ynhh.org or on the online event reporting system accessible from clinical work stations in all patient care areas. If employees prefer to report a concern anonymously, they can do so by going to the YNHH Intranet and accessing the "report a safety event" tab.

"It is vitally important for everyone to take ownership of patient safety," added Roumanis. "If you see something that you know is unsafe or could potentially cause harm to a patient, it is imperative to report it so that the appropriate people can take action to fix it and prevent it from happening again."