FRANKLIN -- More than ten years ago, hospitals affiliated with Community Health Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CYH) embarked on an important safety journey to deliver better outcomes for patients, reduce risk and liability and build trust in the communities they serve. Since then, the hospitals have achieved and maintained an 89% reduction in their Serious Safety Event Rate.
Today, NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery, a peer-reviewed journal from the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine dedicated to the latest innovations, big ideas and practical solutions for health care delivery transformation, recognized CHS’ accomplishments in an article published in its December issue.
The article chronicles the deployment of specific high-reliability leadership methods, human-error prevention behaviors, and a structured approach to cause analysis that directly resulted in reductions in medication errors, patient falls, healthcare-associated infections, procedural errors and other serious safety events.
CHS was one of the first healthcare organizations in the nation to create an AHRQ federally listed Patient Safety Organization, or PSO, to enable ongoing conversations and data analysis in a legally-protected environment to identify opportunities for continuous improvement. Through the PSO, CHS established a safety base-line in 2012 and began its journey to zero preventable harm.
“The catalyst in our journey to zero preventable harm was in analyzing baseline data for serious safety events and recognizing that preventable patient harm was occurring, similar to other health systems and consistent with reported trends,” says Lynn Simon, M.D., President, Healthcare Innovation and Chief Medical Officer of Community Health Systems. “Our goal became zero events of preventable harm, which we believe is possible and the only acceptable target to align with safety as a core value.”
“Ongoing Journey to Zero Preventable Harm,” authored by Dr. Simon and CHS Vice President and Patient Safety Officer Terrie Van Buren, details the numerous safety processes, training initiatives, behaviors and cause analysis programs deployed by CHS to drive sustainable results.
“Thousands of patients have been spared from harm because our clinical and support teams embraced the importance of keeping their patients safe and actively participated in the changes that were required to achieve these results,” says Dr. Simon. “Across CHS, safety is a core value embedded in the hearts and minds of our caregivers – a commitment that is constant, unchanging, and unyielding in the face of the latest trends or competing priorities.”