Posted on December 07, 2017
The Leadership Corner features monthly updates from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) leadership team. The updates will provide new insights to patient safety and quality as well as information obtained from healthcare workshops and conferences across the country.
Sam R. Watson, MSA, CPPS, senior vice president of patient safety and quality, MHA Keystone Center, shares why one of the roles of hospital boards of directors is to create and support a culture that drives safety.
Since its inception, the MHA Keystone Center has focused on improving care through the use of technical and cultural interventions. This combination, particularly cultural interventions, has led to sustained improvements, such as reductions in central line-associated bloodstream infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.
The driving force for cultural improvement comes from organizational leadership, such as chief executive officers and hospital/health system boards of directors.
Jim Conway, former chief operating officer at Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, recently spoke at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement/National Patient Safety Foundation Lucian Leape Institute Forum. Conway discussed three observations on the role of hospital boards of directors in creating and supporting a culture that drives safety.
Engaged boards of directors produce better outcomes — Hospitals improve faster if they have a board of directors that is focused on safety. Providing the board of directors with targeted resources at the governance level can help nonclinical board members become more comfortable with healthcare safety.
Boards of directors need to evaluate their organization and themselves around engagement and what adds and reduces value — Boards of directors need to ask the hard questions about what makes care safer and what creates the opportunity for harm. Many boards now start their meetings with patient stories, which provides an opportunity to discuss what has been learned from an event and how it is being translated into other parts of the hospital’s daily operations.
Hospital/health system boards of directors need to look at safety across the entirety of the organization — Most boards of directors are still focused on the inpatient setting, when the majority of care is provided in the ambulatory setting. According to Charles Vincent, M Phil, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Oxford, “We are exporting risk to the ambulatory setting.” Therefore, boards need to have an understanding of the safety risks in the ambulatory setting — from falls on the sidewalk to medication errors in clinics.
Hospital/health system boards are populated by community members with an interest in the organization’s success. Their engagement allows the ability to work with hospital leadership to create a better culture and safer care.
Posted in: Patient Safety & Quality