How Parkview Health keeps workplace safety front and center

Jeffrey Boord, MD, has served as chief quality and safety officer of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Parkview Health since 2015.

Dr. Boord spoke with Becker's about how the nonprofit health system has significantly reduced workplace injury rates and increased its safety event reporting, among other quality initiatives.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.

Question: What safety or quality initiative are you most excited about right now?

Dr. Jeffrey Boord: I've been really amazed at the progress we've made this year on one of our top safety and quality strategic goals, which is increasing our safety event reporting. Initially, our strategic goal was to increase our total safety event reporting volume by about 20 percent across the system. Year to date, our reporting volume has increased by almost 60 percent, which is really amazing. We've had remarkable engagement with our medical practice group on this initiative. They have taken the lead in developing the education for leaders and front-line workers around safety event reporting. They also used Lean methodologies to streamline the initial reporting and follow-up process for reports. We're now trialing those new processes in a range of different inpatient and ambulatory sites. We're going to continue rolling out those changes across the system in 2020. 

Q: What is the No. 1 challenge you are facing in your role and how are you tackling it?

JB: One of my biggest challenges is prioritization. We've had tremendous growth at Parkview, particularly over the last five years. There are just so many worthy initiatives to work on. It's really taught me the importance of having a disciplined approach to strategic planning and execution. We really can't do everything at once. It's driven us to clearly define and prioritize our goals to really get that aligned across our service lines, medical practice group and support department. 

Q: What has been your proudest moment as Parkview Health's chief quality and safety officer?

JB: One of the things I'm really proud of is our commitment to workforce safety. We've relentlessly focused on reducing our employee injury rate for the past four years and have made significant progress. We actually share our employee injury rate and DART rate, which stands for "days away, restricted or transferred," with every leader in our health system using a dashboard that's updated on a weekly basis. It is front and center as a core value of our overall safety program.

We've been able to reduce our overall [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] recordable injury rate by about 40 percent since 2014. We've also cut our DART rate, which involves the more severe injuries, by about half. In 2014, our DART rate was 2.2. It's now well under 1 today, and we've been able to maintain that improvement.

Q: If you could fix one patient safety issue overnight, what would it be?

JB: If I could change one thing, it would be optimizing teamwork and communication. Far too many patients are harmed by medical errors in the U.S., and the root causes of those errors involve breakdowns in teamwork and communication. Providing healthcare is a very complex task with many risks. We also need to have better systems to deliver care, but effective teamwork and communication is really essentially to optimize safety and outcomes both for workers and patients.

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