Commentaryby Mary Webber
Hospital safety has been a heated topic during the past several months, with politicians and pundits weighing in on the effectiveness of various health systems in keeping patients out of harm’s way.
At the same time, studies have suggested that medical errors may be the third-leading cause of death in the United States, outpaced only by heart disease and cancer.
Should hospital safety be a concern for people in central Indiana? Locally, health care organizations are working hard to put their patients’ minds at ease when it comes to safety and quality.
The culture at St.Vincent Fishers is known as a High Reliability Organization, or HRO. That means if you see something that’s not right, you are empowered to bring it to another associate’s attention. Our world is electronic and fast-paced, and people get very busy. So in an HRO, everybody looks out for each other to keep mistakes from happening.
Since medication errors are right at the top of the list of things to be avoided, we use a double-check system where one nurse will verify with another before a high-risk medication is administered. Another example is a safe-surgery checklist. Before a procedure starts, everyone takes a timeout and goes through a checklist so everything is exactly right and everybody is on the same wavelength.
That attention to detail and quality of care are reflected in high patient-satisfaction scores at St.Vincent Fishers. Based on patient-survey results compiled by Professional Research Consultants, 5-Star Awards for Overall Quality of Care were recently bestowed on the following St.Vincent Fishers departments: Inpatient Services; Outpatient Services—Observation Unit; and Inpatient Observation Services. The hospital’s Emergency Services department also received a 4-Star Award from PRC.
We’re really proud of that. I think one of the things we do really well at St.Vincent Fishers is communication with our patients. We listen to them. We listen to their bodies. We listen to their stories; in doing that we are better able to provide our patients safe care, tailored to their needs and wants.
Mary Webber is the quality assurance manager and infection preventionist at St.Vincent Fishers.