Practice patient safety every time, all the time
Published on Monday, March 14, 2022
By: Ruth Cummins, firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past seven years, improving clinical quality and patient safety has been the Medical Center’s top strategic priority.
The journey’s not over, but the road is paved and traffic is going in the right direction.
Helping to drive patient safety is Chasing Zero, the Medical Center’s initiative to eliminate harm affecting patients and to cultivate safer, more effective care. It’s a proactive approach to achieving zero patient harm – thus, chasing zero.
“UMMC has built a robust quality improvement program based on high reliability principals of leadership, safety culture and performance improvement,” said Dr. Michael Henderson, UMMC’s chief medical officer who oversees the team that drives clinical quality programs.
“As a result, we’ve seen significant improvement of our publicly reported quality and safety scores, and these improvements have benefited our patients.”
UMMC celebrated those gains March 7-10 during the annual Patient Safety Week. With a basketball-themed mantra of “Shoot for Safety,” the week put a spotlight on nine safety metrics and highlighted patient care areas and their performance during calendar year 2021.
The week began with a “Sweet 16” March Madness bracket, with care teams moving on to the Elite Eight, Final Four and the championship. Each morning, employees received prizes and were greeted by hospital leaders when leaving or arriving at Wiser or Adult Hospital, and a safety trivia wheel was carted to hospital floors and various departments so that employees could try their luck and enter for a chance to win a front-row parking space for one month.
Henderson and his team work diligently to lead front-line staff and health system leaders in improving on the safety and experience goals set out on a scorecard found on the UMMC Intranet. The scorecard tracks hospital performance on safety and quality metrics such as hospital acquired infections, pressure injuries, glucose control in diabetics and patient experience.
Data on patient safety, quality and experience measures are transparently published for the public to see on the UMMC website.
Improvements in some of the most valued quality metrics from 2016 to the present include:
- A 64 percent improvement in hand-washing compliance
- A 60 percent improvement in hospital-acquired infections
- A 17 percent improvement in patients being re-admitted to the hospital within 30 days of their discharge
- A 40 percent improvement in patient experience
- A 33 percent improvement in patient safety indicators such as a patient experiencing complications from treatment
Work areas for Medical Center caregivers include patients suffering falls or pressure injuries while inpatients. As those numbers improve, so will the “hard-wiring” of safety being top of mind, said Dr. Phyllis Bishop, professor and interim chief of pediatric gastroenterology who also serves as chief quality officer in Henderson’s office.
“One of the most interesting things that happened throughout COVID is that other institutions across the United States on average had an increase in their bloodstream infections of about 27 percent,” Bishop said. “While we did see a small increase, we did far better than many hospitals in the United States. That speaks to our culture of safety.”
Chasing Zero is modeled after “Zero Patient Harm is Achievable,” an effort championed by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accrediting body in health care. Being a high reliability health care organization means consistently giving all patients quality, safe care.
Chasing Zero made its UMMC debut in March 2018, and while zero patient harm is a lofty goal, Bishop says it’s realistic.
“We absolutely believe it’s possible,” she said. “As we change our culture and improve processes, human or mechanical errors can be caught before they have the opportunity to reach the patient.”
Patient Safety Week, Dr. Lisa Didion says, has three main goals: awareness about the importance of safety; acknowledging everyone who walks the halls at UMMC has a role in it, no matter their title; and recognizing the achievements and hard work different departments and work areas have accomplished over the last year.
“Our units posted their accomplishments in the March Madness Hall of Champions,” said Didion, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and associate chief medical officer in Henderson’s office. “It’s important, especially when you’ve had a couple of really hard years, that people realize there are good things happening. The hall really makes that obvious.”
The Medical Center’s culture of safety also encompasses its employees, and particularly when it comes to workplace violence. “It’s hard for any of us to take care of anyone else if we don’t feel safe,” Didion said. “Employee safety is the foundation for us to provide safe care for others.”
Ongoing initiatives being led by Dr. Joshua Mann and the Office of Well-being, campus police and others are addressing weak points in the health system that can put employees at risk, Didion said. “It’s an opportunity for improvement. It’s things like improving our response processes when there’s a violent event on the floor, or how we screen patients and visitors who enter our buildings, or how we secure our unit entrances,” she said.
The Medical Center is making gains in safety and quality “in the face of adversity,” Bishop said. “We have internalized the lessons taught concerning patient safety We are achieving the safety culture sought. This safety culture allows safe practices to be the way we work, not an additional task.”
“Improving clinical quality and patient safety at UMMC is an ‘everyone’ issue, not just a select few,” Henderson said.
“Performance improvement is becoming the UMMC way.”
Congratulations to the bracket champions for Patient Safety Week 2022!
Winners based on 2021 metrics
Lowest pressure injury rate: Bone Marrow Transplant
Lowest CLABSI rate: 5 North
Highest patient experience rating – Hospital: Cardiovascular Holding
Highest percentage of new patient visits scheduled within 10 days: Gulf Coast Acadian
Highest percentage of e-CheckIn: Riverchase Flowood Weight Management
Highest patient experience for clerk courtesy: Gulf Coast Bridgewater
Highest ICARE review compliance rate: Children’s of Mississippi Pharmacy
People’s Choice Award (departments include adult and children’s services): Office of Patient Experience
Highest number of compliments in patient experience reports submitted: Adult Emergency Department