5 ways HCA fosters a culture of safety

Quality patient outcomes cannot happen without safety as a foundation, Karla Miller, MD, Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare's chief patient safety officer, wrote in a March 13 blog post. The hospital operator, like many others, emphasizes patient safety as a key responsibility for its 294,000 employees, and now it is incorporating new measures to deepen these efforts.

HCA's "Good Catch" program was rolled out by the system to prioritize accountability and reporting of errors that could affect patient safety and understand how and why they happened, so they don't again. 

"Reporting of close calls allows facilities to intervene and correct weaknesses in processes or systems before harm occurs," Dr. Miller wrote. "We scale the learnings from these events across our organization to improve patient safety and the quality of healthcare delivery."

Other patient safety-centric initiatives the healthcare system has incorporated over the years to enhance care outcomes include: 

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Patient Safety Survey: HCA uses this tool developed by the AHRQ to inform it of both strengths and weaknesses when it comes to patient safety.

  • Patient Safety Organization: HCA first rolled out this program nine years ago and has since sustained it to conduct risk assessments, address patient safety concerns, and transparently investigate issues if and when they arise to inform lessons learned.

  • Antibiotic stewardship: As medication mishaps and antibiotic resistance are both on the rise and can affect patient outcomes, HCA's focus with this initiative is to avoid over-reliance on the drugs to help curb resistance.

  • Connecting with patient families: The company also prioritizes hearing from patient families about their concerns, feedback and incorporates them as a core component to each patient's recovery plan to increase safety and informative, transparent care measures. 

"High-quality, safe care doesn't just happen; it occurs by integrating people, processes and technology into our care delivery," Dr. Miller wrote. "Good quality and patient safety are purposeful and realized through measured outcomes that reduce harm, prevent suffering and save lives."

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