HCA Healthcare Celebrates Patient Safety Awareness Week

A group of nurses and hospital workers
Parkridge Medical Center partners for patient safety

Happy Patient Safety Awareness Week 2019!

HCA Healthcare has been an industry leader in patient safety long before it was an established discipline. It is first and foundational for who we are as an organization and what we stand for – safe, high-quality, and efficient care that we’d want for ourselves, our families and our friends.

That’s why we are pleased to partner with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) “United for Patient Safety” campaign and commemorative Patient Safety Awareness Week.

“At HCA Healthcare, we have a long-standing commitment to a culture of safety,” said Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s president, clinical services, and chief medical officer. “From being one of the first hospital systems to implement bar-coded medication administration to developing much of the evidence and worldwide practice standards for safe deliveries, as well as our leadership in using artificial intelligence to save lives of patients with sepsis, we know that safe practice and high reliability involve more than luck.”

“Together with partners across our system, we are a learning health system that engineers quality and safety into our care to improve outcomes and save lives,” Dr. Perlin adds of HCA Healthcare’s long-standing patient safety priority.

Man wearing suit and tie. Headshot of Dr. Jonathan Perlin.

Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s president, clinical services, and chief medical officer

Dr. Perlin was on a panel of experts that produced the 2017 report Leading a Culture of Safety: A Blueprint for Success. This resource was designed to be used as a practical guide for leaders to establish and maintain a culture of safety in their organizations.

In fact, Kenneth Sands, MD, chief patient safety officer at HCA Healthcare, and assistant vice president Sharon Hickman, our organization’s safety engineer, use the blueprint to partner with regional leaders across the enterprise in advancing a culture of safety.

Man wearing suit and tie. Headshot of Dr. Kenneth Sands.

Dr. Kenneth Sands, HCA Healthcare’s chief epidemiologist and chief patient safety officer

“Of course everyone wants to promote a culture of safety,” says Dr. Sands, “but the topic can feel ambiguous, and leaders need help determining the most effective approach.  The Blueprint provides concrete, practical and proven strategies to that resonate with both leaders and front line staff.”

For example, the document promotes the value of safety huddles with direct leadership involvement. “We have seen a huge uptake in the concept of holding a daily safety huddle,” adds Dr. Sands.

Errors and safety lapses can occur in any setting and take many forms but in a healthcare environment, harm resulting from errors can have a long-term or permanent impact on a patient’s physical or emotional health.

Patient safety is a team effort

Our physicians, nurses and caregivers all need to be involved in the dialogue of patient safety to ensure a safe healthcare environment. We can do that by checking and double checking each other. Reporting is one of the simple actions to take in order to share, learn and prevent errors in the future and ultimately, reduce preventable harm and improve safety throughout HCA Healthcare.

At HCA Healthcare, we believe in contributing to a safer environment for patients and caregivers alike, by:

  • encouraging the reporting of errors, adverse events and close calls – events or situations that, only by chance, did not produce patient harm,
  • recognizing or rewarding individuals for reporting,
  • allowing for moderate risk-taking and creativity,
  • nurturing safety discussions or huddles and providing transparent, timely feedback, and
  • promoting the development of a safe climate for reporting without fear of retribution.
Woman wearing glasses and gray jacket. Headshot of Sharon Hickman.

Sharon Hickman, assistant vice president and safety engineer, HCA Healthcare

“Creating a culture of safety where employees feel empowered to speak up is a key component to the journey,”  says Hickman, HCA Healthcare’s safety engineer. “Great catch programs encourage and celebrate the reporting of potential errors or near miss events regarding patient safety.”

“The information we get from this is a key component to identify system and process improvements that need to be implemented to ensure that harm does not reach the patient,” adds Hickman.  “We are in a great position to learn from each other and share across the enterprise.”

A group of hospital workers

West Valley Medical Center celebrates a great catch

A man wearing a suit and a man wearing scrubs posing with an award certificate

Fairview Park Hospital applauds patient safety

For patients: partnering with your providers

Patients can help their providers achieve a safe healthcare experience by communicating important information and planning together. Share your health history with your care team and discuss any and all concerns with those that are treating you.

HCA Healthcare encourages our patients to take an active role in their daily care. There are several things that you can do to make your healthcare encounter, or a loved one’s encounter, safer:

Ask Me 3®  – ask these three questions of your healthcare provider to better understand your health condition and what you need to do to stay healthy:

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

Hand-washingthe World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that caregiver hand-washing hygiene should be performed at five key moments. If you don’t see them do it, ask if they’ve washed:

  • before touching a patient
  • before clean and aseptic procedures (e.g., inserting devices such as catheters)
  • after contact with body fluids
  • after touching a patient
  • after touching patient surroundings

Medication administrationin a hospital setting, your caregivers confirm these rights, amongst others, when giving your medications:

  • the right patient
  • the right time and frequency of administration
  • the right dose
  • the right route
  • the right drug

Patients can participate in this practice by making sure that the administrator properly identifies you or your loved one, asking what medication is being given and why, and asking how much of the medication was ordered and how often you are to receive it. Be sure to communicate not only what medications you are currently taking, but any vitamins and supplements that you are ingesting, as some can interact with each other.

A female nurse checking on a male patient

Our care is first and foremost on our patients. This week we extend a special “Thank You” to Patient Safety leaders and all of our caregivers who have an unwavering commitment to superior, patient-centered care this and all weeks.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

Recent articles