For Scotland Health Care System employees patient safety is always priority one and the system will look to enhance its commitment to patients by celebrating National Patient Safety Awareness Month.
Recognized throughout the month of March, the National Patient Safety Awareness program will see the health care system focus on increasing staff and patient awareness.
“We will raise our staff’s awareness through an online survey, educational sessions at staff meetings, contests and puzzles,” said Sandy Williams, RN and Patient Safety Coordinator with the system.
Patient awareness of safety issues will be increased through presentations at churches and other civic organizations and on the radio, Williams added.
And while mistakes will happen, Williams said that the system’s hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices all work diligently to “eliminate as many as possible.”
“Often medical errors happen when there is a single misstep in the chain of activities. This week we want to raise awareness that we encourage a conscientious collaboration between Scotland Heath Care System associates and our medical providers,” Williams said.
Last week, the system will focused especially on health care culture and safety during Patient Safety Awareness Week.
With the theme “Patient Safety 7/365” the Scotland Health Care System sought to remind all of its employees and affiliates that safe patient care requires a daily commitment to service.
Throughout March the system will also press toward making improvement in a number of areas identified by the National Patient Safety Goal Program, including improving patient information accuracy, improving communication between caregivers and patients, improving medication safety and labeling, reducing infection by following specific best practice checklists, identifying ongoing safety risks and utilizing “universal protocols” to prevent surgical mistakes.
Williams said that the system will also strive to improve medication plans for patients by ensuring that they know what medications patients have been prescribed throughout the continuum of care.
“It’s so important that each patient brings a list of their medication to every visit with their medical providers and to the hospital,” she said.
Teamwork, dedication to quality work and respectfulness as well as reporting any concerns are among the ways that the system’s associates will hold up the patient safety commitment from their end, Williams added.
“We utilize a variety of methods to enhance patient safety.”
While it may sound poultry related, Williams said that one of the system’s newest programs – the “HEN” program – is actually a new safety initiative tasked with reducing inpatient harm by 40 percent and cutting hospital re-admissions by 20 percent.
“We are fortunate enough through our affiliation with the Carolinas Health Care System to be able to participate in the ‘Hospital Engagement Network,’” Williams said. “(The program) is a US Department of Health and Human Services national public-private collaboration to improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for all Americans.”
By emphasizing “transparency and collaboration between institutions that would not typically share information,” Williams said that Scotland Health Care is given access to “the very latest best practice information to ensure we are doing the best to keep our patients safe.”
As chief of staff, Dr. Donna Richardson said that she has multiple goals for Scotland Memorial Hospital; Chief among them being patient safety.
“We are working harder than ever (to ensure patient safety),” Richardson said. Recent “scorecards” have shown that the hospital has been providing its patients “with the safest medical care possible,” she added.
Based on the HEN protocols, the hospital has the highest reduction of patient falls among all of the hospitals in the Carolinas Health Care System.
The system was also recognized for its safety success in a number of other areas.
“Just recently representatives from Carolinas Health Care System presented the Scotland facility with certificates of recognition for maintaining ‘Zero Harm’ from January 2012 to October of 2012 in four areas,” reported Wanda Avetta, Scotland Health Care System’s director of quality.
Scotland Memorial Hospital was recognized for its “zero harm” achievement in the categories of surgical site infections, central line associated blood stream infection, ventilator-associated pneumonia and stage III and IV pressure ulcers.
As part of her ongoing patient safety and awareness work Williams is available to speak at civic and community organizations about safety awareness, medication safety and other safety-related topics. She may be reached at 291-7315.
“We want to make our community members aware of the role that our providers, staff and the patient play in our efforts to provide safe medical care,” Williams concluded.