Ten steps for improving patient safety and reducing harm events

Everyone has a role in making healthcare safer. Improving safety in your organization requires active engagement by the Governing Board, Senior Leaders, Providers, Managers, Staff and Patients. Here’s ten steps for improving patient safety and reducing harm events in your organization.

    1. Implement Daily or Shift Huddles in every department, clinical and non-clinical and identify:
      • Safety Concerns – Potential for future safety / harm events
      • Safety Events – Safety / harm events that occurred
      • Good Catches – Safety / harm events that were avoided
    2. Post safety data in every department every day
      • Number of Safety Concerns
      • Number of Safety Events (Falls, Medication Errors, etc.)
      • Number of Good Catches
      • Number of process changes or solutions implemented to prevent Safety Events
    3. Report safety data from individual departments as well as department and organization process improvements to Leaders and the Governing Board monthly
    4. Reward staff for identifying and preventing Safety Events. Consider a quarterly staff round table or lunch with the Governing Board Chair, CEO and Chief of the Medical Staff.
    5. Publish a weekly newsletter that focuses on a particular aspect of patient safety. Make newsletters entertaining and easy to absorb. Ask staff for “tips” and include them in the newsletter. Include success stories and profiles of staff who are making a difference.
    6. Conduct Patient Safety Leadership Rounds at least weekly. Talk to staff about what they are doing to improve patient safety. Talk to patients about what concerns they have about safety and what could be done better.
    7. Make Safety a Standing Agenda Item. Include a brief presentation on how safety is being improved at every Governing Board, Senior Leadership, Medical Staff, Department and Staff meeting.
    8. Implement the National Patient Safety (NPSG) goals. Published every year by The Joint Commission, the NPSGs represent evidence-based best practices focused on preventing patient harm.
    9. Implement The Joint Commission Speak Up™ campaign. Designed for patients, the Speak Up™ campaign has a total of Twenty-One different patient campaigns designed for use in the Hospital, Provider Offices and Home. All Speak Up infographics, brochures and videos can be downloaded for free and are available in English and Spanish, and can be translated into other languages.

Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
Pay attention to the care you get.
Educate yourself about your illness.
Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate (advisor or supporter).
Know what medicines you take and why you take them.

Use a health care organization that has been carefully checked out.
Participate in all decisions about your treatment

  1. Survey your Culture of Safety. Survey leaders, providers and staff at least every eighteen months to identify how you are doing in developing and maintaining a Culture of Safety.

5 South Safety Data – Our Journey to Improvement

Author: Carolyn St.Charles, RN, BSN, MBA, Regional Chief Clinical Officer

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