How To Renovate Your Organization's Patient Safety Culture

Jennifer La Grassa

Re-organizing Milford Regional Medical Center's approach to quality and safety has not been a simple task, but the team is already seeing improvements. 

When Annette Roberts, Director of Quality and Patient Safety, and her team began using several of the RLDatix software modules - Feedback, Risk, Root Cause Analysis, Peer Review and Infection - three years ago, it jump-started their journey to a better workflow. This transition was supported by educational workshops, individual training sessions and on-going support to ensure that all staff were well-equipped to handle the change. 

After implementation, her team acknowledged a number of successes, including a more streamlined response process for grievances and event reporting, along with an overall reporting increase. One strategy that she believes helped the reporting process was telling staff what to include using the three W's: 

  1. What I saw,
  2. What the concern was, and; 
  3. What I would like to see happen. 

As with any change, there were some challenges. In part, the solution came from a broader intentional shift at Milford Regional toward a culture of safety. 

"We developed the [culture of safety] committee and we decided that our mission was a shared and sustained commitment to safety demonstrated through behaviors and core values," says Annette. 

One statement that the Milford Regional team reflects on to guide their work is: What can you do today to make a difference tomorrow? 

The culture of safety committee was able to engage staff through surveys, asking them about workplace culture and using poster boards to have staff share thoughts on what a culture of safety means to them. 

Through these initiatives, Annette says the team at Milford Regional has developed safety concepts and discovered core values that will help make the hospital safer for everyone. Aligned to the value proposition safe, high quality patient experiences and outcomes, their goals include:

  • Reaching zero harm
  • Fostering an environment where people feel comfortable speaking up
  • Taking patient feedback into consideration
  • Being proactive in risk situations

"We have a big educational shift going on so hopefully some of the walls and silos will be broken down," says Annette. "We know that we can go farther together." 

Do you have a success story to share? We're looking for speakers for this year's Connections roadshow! Learn more. 

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