​Patient safety: Developing a culture of continuous improvement

In today’s patient-centered healthcare environment, improving outcomes, managing risks and reducing costs are more important than ever before.

Patient safety: Developing a culture of continuous improvement

In today’s patient-centered healthcare environment, improving outcomes, managing risks and reducing costs are more important than ever before.

When it comes to patient safety and developing a culture of continuous improvement, however, making a concerted effort is only half of the battle. The other half? Knowing specifically what to improve — and acting on that insight.

As W. Edwards Deming, widely viewed as the father of process improvement management, once said, "It is not enough to just do your best or work hard. You must know what to work on."

To identify mistakes and unsafe practices, organizations need patient safety workflow tools that encourage a culture of safety in which staff feel free to report concerns and protect patients from harm. And just as importantly, organizations also must expose and resolve the issues that lead to negative outcomes.

Looking to improve patient safety and build a culture of continuous improvement at your facility? Here’s where to start:

Capture

Effectively documenting incidents is central to understanding what went wrong and supporting care improvement efforts. Protecting patients from harm requires active surveillance within a safety culture that encourages self-reporting of errors and near misses.

Gathering incident-related information is the first step in helping staff determine where safety-related improvements can be made. Information capturing software should house incident data, feedback, claims and mortality review modules — any information that shows undesired and unintended outcomes following care delivery.

Evaluate

After capturing information on a specific incident, it’s essential to understand the event and uncover its cause. Be sure to facilitate discussions about safety and risk management with staff members to identify factors that must be controlled to avoid a repeat occurrence.

Utilizing a state-of-the-art patient safety toolkit also will help with identifying underlying incident causes, as well as recommending changes to overcome them.

Strategize

You’ve discovered the cause of the incident; now it’s time to develop an improvement strategy. Which controls must be put in place to meet the recommendations? Which of the possible controls will offer the best return on investment? The latest patient safety software offers ROI assessment tools to focus limited resources on delivering the most effective results, passing the strongest controls over for implementation.

Implement

Upon developing an improvement strategy, your organization must commit to memory all lessons learned. Activity management ensures that all changes are put in place and that implementation controls are incorporated into procedures and processes. This is the time to broadcast crucial safety-related information around your organization.

Assess

All changes have been implemented at this point. Now, step back and ask yourself, are they working?

An assessment program will answer this question and close the loop on continuous improvement of patient safety. Compliance assessment tools provide a single platform for evaluating the effectiveness of internal policies and ensuring compliance with Joint Commission standards.

State-of-the-art patient safety software will capture incident data and provide insight on how to enhance the delivery care. But remember: There’s no end to refining patient safety practices. Improving patient safety over the long haul requires a facility-wide eye for detail and willingness to change course when necessary.

As the global leader in healthcare safety and risk management technology for more than three decades, Datix provides patient safety and risk management solutions for hospitals and health systems. Our technology helps providers track adverse incidents and implement learning and resolution tools that measurably improve the overall safety, quality and experiences for patients and staff. Our patient safety workflow solutions also allow healthcare organizations to aggregate all of their data into a single system, creating an opportunity to generate and implement strategies to enhance the delivery of efficient, targeted and effective care.

Our software also reduces the frequency and impact of adverse events and allows providers to:

  • Consolidate all classes of adverse events — clinical, financial, data, medication, employee, etc. — into a centralized data repository resulting in unmatched reporting and analytics capabilities;
  • Improve patient experience and stay ahead of satisfaction scores with real-time responses;
  • Optimize utilization across the organization by not disrupting existing workflows; and
  • Promote a culture of learning by recording, investigating and analyzing your incident.

To learn more about our patient safety and risk management technology, or schedule a demo, click here

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We will respond to your query and deal with your personal data in accordance with our Privacy Policy. If you are an organisation already benefitting from, or likely to benefit from, Datix’s products and services, we may get in touch with you to consider this further.