Behaviors, tools key to hospital safety

Florida hospital has adopted error-prevention tools and behaviors from commercial aviation and nuclear power, high-risk ventures that have implemented highly successful safety standards

By Healthcare Facilities Today

Safety is not only a learned tool but an engrained behavior for every employee at Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla., according to an article on the News-Press website.

Keeping patients safe, giving them the highest quality of care to heal and regain their health is important in the healthcare environment. And while the hospital tries to adhere to the strictest standards of patient safety, it recognizes there is always room for improvement, the article said.

A system-wide program reinforces the mission and culture of patient first. Lee Memorial has adopted error-prevention tools and behaviors from two seemingly unlikely industries: commercial aviation and nuclear power, high-risk ventures that have implemented highly successful safety standards (incidents are now almost zero) following drastic errors that took human life.

The safety program is built around keeping harm visible and preventing problems through transparency. 

"We don’t point fingers, but we don’t hide mistakes. We learn from them and implement solutions. Red rules, red zones, phonetic and numeric clarification and C.U.S. are among the safety procedures practiced by all Lee Memorial Health Systems employees every day," according to the hospital.

The hospital policy includes:

• Daily Safety Check-In: Every morning, 365 days a year, 25 or more unit directors and administrators are dialed into the most important call of the day: reviewing safety at every facility during the past 24 hours and looking ahead to the next 24.  Employees are alerted to patients with the same or similar names, out-of-order equipment or even a low supply of a specific drug. 

• Red Zones: Interruptions can create mistakes. If a physician, nurse or other employee is in a designated red zone – or displaying a red towel – they are not to be interrupted. Period.

• Safety Lessons Learned: Every administrative and clinical meeting begins with a patient safety story. Successes and near misses are the first item on the agenda.

Read the article.


January 28, 2014

Topic Area: Safety

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