Cus­tom-fit your jour­ney to im­proved pa­tient safety

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT - By John Wil­banks John Wil­banks is ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer at Bap­tist Health, Jack­sonville, Fla.

It’s no rev­e­la­tion that hos­pi­tals across the coun­try are fer­vently work­ing to im­prove pa­tient safety. Safety ini­tia­tives in­clude en­sur­ing ba­sic but es­sen­tial in­fec­tion-con­trol mea­sures, es­pe­cially en­cour­ag­ing hand-wash­ing, in­cor­po­rat­ing tech­nolo­gies such as bar-coded med­i­ca­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion and im­ple­ment­ing high-re­li­a­bil­ity prin­ci­ples adopted from other high-risk in­dus­tries.

Adopt­ing long-es­tab­lished ev­i­dence­based safety prac­tices can gen­er­ate safety im­prove­ment. We don’t have to rein­vent the wheel, but in an in­dus­try tra­di­tion­ally slow to trans­form, we must in­tro­duce in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions in our safety strate­gies. I strongly be­lieve that in­no­va­tion in safety must be cus­tom­ized to your or­ga­ni­za­tion and ap­plied in a way that fits with your cul­ture, strate­gic pri­or­i­ties and re­sources.

For Bap­tist Health, the pur­suit of mak­ing health­care safer in our “Jour­ney to Zero” has in­cluded sev­eral ef­forts.

Lead­er­ship has set a tone through ac­tive in­volve­ment, round­ing ev­ery day to in­crease en­gage­ment with pa­tients and staff, which has gen­er­ated quicker res­o­lu­tion to is­sues, big and small. Our board feels re­spon­si­ble to the com­mu­nity for safety and qual­ity, bring­ing added ac­count­abil­ity and support for sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments.

In­vest­ments have in­cluded adding pa­tient-lift equip­ment and pi­lot­ing high-tech pa­tient mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems to pre­vent pa­tient falls. Our lat­est step was a $1 mil­lion in­vest­ment in new health­care worker uni­forms and pa­tient ap­parel that use in­no­va­tive tex­tile tech­nol­ogy to min­i­mize the risk of tran­mit­ting in­fec­tious or­gan­isms.

Why make th­ese in­vest­ments, some of which haven’t been widely adopted across the in­dus­try? They fit our mis­sion and cul­ture.

We embrace be­ing early adopters. But we do our home­work. Gath­er­ing re­search, pi­lot­ing new tech­nolo­gies, col- lab­o­rat­ing with ven­dors on de­vel­op­ment and fully as­sess­ing the im­pact on cul­ture, costs and ben­e­fits are crit­i­cal.

Hos­pi­tals are in­creas­ingly mea­sured by third par­ties and paid on the ba­sis of our abil­ity to de­liver high-qual­ity care. There’s no sil­ver bul­let in im­prov­ing safety. We be­lieve that the right things—added to­gether—with an in­ten­tional fo­cus on safety of­fer us the best chance for suc­cess.

It takes a com­mit­ment to in­no­va­tion to im­prove health­care. By chal­leng­ing our­selves we also chal­lenge each other, shar­ing ideas that can help pave new paths on our jour­ney to zero.

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