Week of activities celebrates patient safety
Published on Monday, March 6, 2023
By: Ruth Cummins, email@example.com
Photos By: Joe Ellis/UMMC Photography
It’s a race toward safety, not a checkered flag, this week at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Patient Safety Week, an annual mainstay that celebrates UMMC’s quest to keep patients and employees safe from harm, this year has a race car theme. The finish line is Chasing Zero, the Medical Center’s initiative to eliminate serious safety events affecting patients and to cultivate safer, more effective care.
It’s a proactive approach to achieving zero patient harm – thus, chasing zero.
Chasing Zero is modeled after “Zero Patient Harm is Achievable,” an effort championed by The Joint Commission, the nation’s leading accrediting body in health care. Being a high reliability health care organization means consistently giving all patients quality, safe care. UMMC aspires to reach that gold standard through improving its efficiency, effectiveness, processes, customer satisfaction and culture of safety.
“Chasing Zero is our North star for the way that we do our work,” said Dr. Phyllis Bishop, chief and Paul Parker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology and chief quality officer in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer.
“Every day, people come to work to do a good job. This is re-setting our awareness that we work in a high-risk industry, and safety has to be at the forefront of our thoughts every day.”
Patient Safety Week is “a time to celebrate all of the accomplishments from the previous year,” said Kristin Kappler Hardy, director of nursing for Children’s of Mississippi. “This work is hard. It takes a lot of time and effort, and keeping track of our successes is a great way to tell our story and share the good work we do, day in and day out.”
Chasing Zero made its UMMC debut in March 2018 and gets an updated focus each year.
This year’s theme, “Chasing Zero: Racing Toward Safety,” brings together all employees, including those who don’t traditionally give direct care to patients, said Kim Barrier, a UMMC Patient Safety Week committee member and manager for nursing standards, regulatory and accreditation.
“We feel like there’s a lot of work going on at the organizational level that is really picking up steam,” Barrier said. “We are coming out of a few years of pandemic, and everyone is refocusing.
“We all have unit and departmental accomplishments that we should be proud of.”
Patient Safety Week is fun, not just informative. “All week long, we will have a patient safety trivia cart rounding to different areas of the hospital for both day and night shifts,” Barrier said. “You can spin the wheel and vie for the grand prize of a front-row parking space.”
- Each day, UMMC leaders and safety team members will greet employees as they come and go from work between 6-8:30 a.m. This morning they gathered in front of University Hospital, a location where they’ll also be Wednesday. On Tuesday and Thursday, they will greet employees between the Emergency Department and Wiser Hospital, standing in front of the entrance to Women’s Urgent Care.
- Through Thursday, all employees can visit the Winner’s Circle next to the Business Office off the second-floor lobby of University Hospital to see who is racing for safety and view their work unit’s 2022 safety accomplishments. Leaders of select 2022 quality metrics will be represented as race cars and will advance on the track as the week progresses.
- A championship ceremony is set for noon Thursday at the Winner’s Circle. Winners of the week’s safety races will be announced.
Areas where the Medical Center shines on safety, and opportunities for improvement, are outlined in publicly available data on the UMMC website. Four scorecards, all timely, simple and specific, allow the front line to see for themselves in real time the Health System’s quality and safety metrics and how they are improving or declining.
That’s in addition to publicly available quality measures such as hand hygiene, hospital-acquired infections, reporting of potentially avoidable complications suffered by patients, and patient experience.
For example, “we’ve made good strides in decreasing the number of patient falls with injuries,” Bishop said. “We put in a new screening based on predictive analytics that has made a big difference.”
Children’s of Mississippi also is celebrating successes in patient safety. “We have sustained pressure injury rates significantly below benchmarking rates,” Kappler Hardy said. “We have achieved surgical site infection rates well below the benchmarking rates.
“There’s been lots of work over the last year toward improving our outcomes. This week is a great opportunity for us to shine and revel in the excitement of the hard work we do.”
A continuing work area in adult care is pressure injuries, Bishop said. “We’re on the cusp of seeing improvements based on changes we’ve made. We have a full team to keep up with those type injuries, and new programs for early assessment of those most at risk.”
Children’s of Mississippi is putting great effort into eliminating central line-involved bloodstream infections and other hospital acquired infections, Kappler Hardy said.
Medical Center areas such as the Division of Information Systems (DIS) and the UMMC Police and Public Safety Department toil daily to keep employees and patients from harm, even though they’re not traditionally associated with front-line care.
“Our police have installed metal detectors in the ER and implemented a behavioral response team,” Barrier said. “They created a student safety advisory board, and bicycle police officers have new reflective vests for their safety.”
This week, Bishop said, “is a time we should think about safety in terms of what we’ve accomplished and are proud of. It’s a celebration rather than a refresher course.
“The idea is to keep everyone safe. We want to cause no harm.”