Open Accessibility Menu

Putting Patient Safety First

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Maureen Archambault, Vice President, Quality & Risk, Community Memorial Healthcare

A 2016 study released by Johns Hopkins researchers identified that medical errors were the third leading cause of death in the United States. Most errors represent systemic problems, including poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in patient care.

Each year in March, healthcare organizations across the country observe National Patient Safety Awareness Week — a time to reflect on our responsibility to protect patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. At Community Memorial Healthcare our commitment to patient safety is a top priority and we are proud to share the work we are doing in this area.

At Community Memorial, we recognize that new threats to patient safety continuously emerge, uncertainty is endemic, and no two accidents are exactly alike. We foster an environment in which potential problems are anticipated, detected early, and responded to quickly enough to prevent catastrophic consequences. We don’t accept the easy solutions to problems or errors. Instead, we uncover root the causes and implement sustainable changes to our processes and procedures to address them.

This continuous commitment to identifying opportunities to improve processes and enhance patient care is embedded in the culture at Community Memorial. One example of this is our STAR reporting system – an easily accessible portal for employees and medical staff to share feedback so that we can immediately address issues or concerns before an error occurs. We also celebrate team members for making “Good Catches.”These awards recognize staff who ensure mistakes are avoided by identifying and calling out potential issues.

We complete an annual, organization-wide Culture of Patient Safety Survey that invites staff to provide insights into how our organization supports the work they do in caring for our patients. The feedback we receive is used to develop and prioritize patient safety and process improvement initiatives for the coming year. To provide more continuous channels for feedback, we have instituted Executive Rounds where each member of our senior leadership team spends time engaging with staff across the organization. These visits create a direct and open line of communication with staff of all levels. In addition, our leadership team gathers for a huddle every morning to review the daily schedule and address any potential areas of vulnerability to ensure optimal performance and patient safety.

Perhaps one of the most impactful ways in which we “live” our commitment to patient experience is by partnering with our patients, their caregivers, and members of our community to hear their feedback and understand their needs in a meaningful way. Through our Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), we gather invaluable insight on our performance, and learn more about what we can do to enhance the care we provide to our patients and the support we provide to their loved ones and caregivers. Finally, and most importantly, we encourage our patients to SPEAK UP. If you or a loved one would like to share your experience with us, please reach out to our Patient Experience Coordinator. We are here for you—to heal comfort, and promote health — and we are listening.