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Great Catch program celebrates one year, expands to SRC

Last January, the hospital announced the first recipient of the Great Catch award that recognizes employees for reporting near-misses, red flags or potential problems related to patient safety. This month, the program celebrates a successful first year.

Launched by the hospital's Patient Safety and Quality Committee, the Great Catch program reinforces the hospital's culture of safety by recognizing employees who catch mistakes before they harm patients.

Employees are encouraged to report anything that might cause patient harm into the online event reporting system. Employees who identify themselves when they submit an event — often called a "near-miss" or a "great catch" — or those who report one to their manager are considered for a monthly Great Catch award. Nominations can be submitted by email to

"The Great Catch program has been a great success and has produced lots of valuable information," said Thomas Balcezak, MD, associate chief of staff and chief quality officer. "Most events are near-misses in which the patient was not — but could have been — harmed. We use this information to track where we are at risk so we can intervene and fix the problem before a patient is hurt.

"We have now expanded Great Catch to the Saint Raphael Campus," added Dr. Balcezak, "and look forward to the same positive response to the program as we all work together to make patient safety our top priority."

Chaired by Cheryl Raab, RN, perinatal patient safety nurse, Carrie Guttman, RN, patient safety coordinator, Medicine, and Ellen Macone, RN, patient safety nurse, Saint Raphael Campus, the Great Catch Committee will continue to review all of the reports each month and choose those considered the best "Great Catches." A winner will be selected from each campus monthly.

"We are pleased to be part of the Great Catch program," said Macone, who coordinates the program on the Saint Raphael Campus. "It is an additional tool that supports our commitment to patient safety."

The first winner on the Saint Raphael Campus was Marie Ann Tiernan, RN, Verdi 3, a medical telemetry unit. Tiernan noticed that a patient — prior to hospitalization — had been taking a blood thinner but it was not listed on the patient's discharge medication list. Tiernan contacted the doctor to clarify and correct the information, thus preventing a potentially serious complication for her patient.

The committee presents a miniature baseball catcher's mitt to the Great Catch recipient each month and awards a larger version of the mitt to the recipient's department.

Managers can also distribute Great Catch thank you cards to anyone who logs an incident or a near-miss. While only one candidate wins the monthly award on each campus, every person whose "Great Catch" is reviewed by the committee receives a special acknowledgement within his or her department or service area.

"Employees who have shared information through the Great Catch program are the eyes and ears of the hospital and help us proactively protect our patients," added Dr. Balcezak. "Patient safety is our top priority, and we strongly encourage employees to continue submitting their great catches."

For a gallery of 2012's winners, visit this page on the intranet

Yale-New Haven Hospital news release

Yale-New Haven Hospital is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine. Yale-New Haven was founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826. Today, the hospital's two New Haven-based inpatient campuses include Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties. YNHH's York Street campus and associated ambulatory sites are Magnet-designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

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