Patient Safety

University Hospitals’ Commitment to Patient Safety

As health care workers, we hold a sacred trust. Our patients trust us with their lives and their family members trust us with their loved ones. Nothing we do is more important than working to ensure the safest environment possible for our patients. It has been reported by the Institute of Medicine and others that as many as 180,000 deaths occur in the U.S. each year as a result of errors in medical care. Many of these errors are preventable. We must continuously strive to improve the safety and quality of care provided to our patients and demonstrate that the trust of patients and families is well-placed.

No one comes to work to do a bad job or intentionally make an error. However, given the right circumstances, anyone can make a mistake. Most mistakes occur as a result of ineffective, improperly designed or flawed systems. In order to have a clear picture of what is actually happening so that appropriate steps can be taken to prevent such occurrences, specific methods of gathering and analyzing incident data have been developed. Through tracking and trending of reported events and near misses, University Hospitals can learn from occurrences and help to reduce adverse events.

Patient safety is everyone’s responsibility; everyone has a duty to report his or her concerns. This also means everyone shares in the responsibility of improving safety. When we observe and report an incident, we act for the ongoing trust of our patients. Continuous patient safety is dependent on improving care and safety processes, procedures and systems. Ultimately, this effort can be successful only if there is a true team effort made at all levels of the organization. This sometimes extends beyond reporting and requires participation in the investigation and analysis of why events occur. You may be asked as a staff member to participate in a root cause analysis or failure mode effects analysis.

UH is committed to a culture of prevention, not punishment. To establish a non-punitive, blame-free culture at UH, the incident reporting system allows reports to be entered anonymously. A staff member is given the option of entering his or her name. While the reporting philosophy is designed as non-punitive, at the same time, it acknowledges that each individual is responsible and accountable to his or her patients, the public, and other staff to make UH a safe, healthy environment. Each individual is responsible for using sound judgment and being aware of potential hazards to the patients before taking action or providing treatments.

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