iStock_000033314002XLarge-1

In honor of National Patient Safety Awareness Week, we will be discussing various strategies that healthcare providers can deploy to improve patient safety. Keeping patients safe inside and outside of the hospital is no easy task, and it is critical that organizations look for programs and initiatives to promote this objective. Read on for strategies that hospitals can utilize to make lasting patient safety improvements.

1. Open Communication with Patients

Maintaining open communication with patients throughout the care experience is critical to ensuring that they are not at risk for an adverse event such as a fall, infection, or readmission. When patients share their medical histories, questions, and concerns, providers are more likely to identify an issue that could lead to a negative event.

From the time patients enter the hospital through their recoveries, care providers should be asking them questions about their needs and encouraging them to raise questions as well. Through processes such as rounding and post-discharge follow up, care providers can promptly address immediate issues, and uncover opportunities to improve communication moving forward.

2. Enhance Care Coordination

Care coordination means sharing information and bridging gaps between different departments, units, and providers in the care continuum. If a patient is transferred to a post-acute care facility, how will the new care provider receive the patient’s history? How might a social worker receive important patient information from a clinician? When your team has the tools to confidently answer these questions, you can deliver high-quality, coordinated care to keep patients safe.

3. Empower Staff and Build Trust

To ensure patient safety, front-line staff members must feel empowered to bring up issues, large or small, that may impact patient care. When staff members feel comfortable bringing up potential problems and are confident that those problems will be addressed, leaders can proactively prevent potential adverse events.

While creating a culture around communication can be difficult, leadership can start by taking small steps, asking staff members for their opinions and taking actions based on them. Processes such as staff rounding or employee surveys are great ways to collect this type of feedback.

With CipherHealth’s Evolve suite, care providers can easily understand and act upon patient issues. Thank you for joining us to learn more about patient safety. To join the campaign, be sure to check outwww.unitedforpatientsafety.org.

Barb Davis

Barbara Davis, MA has been involved in quality in healthcare for over 30 years, and currently serves as CipherHealth's SVP of Clinical Services. She has worked in complex health care environments, including a university health system, an HMO health plan, and multi-hospital system. Her areas of expertise include quality improvement and Lean, service excellence focusing on organizational culture and the patient experience, patient safety and reliability, regulatory issues and organizational strategic goal setting. Currently she sits on the Patient and Family Advisory Council at Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver.