But take a look anyway, if you have an interest in process improvement in hospitals. This is a collection of my best posts on this topic.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good catches are catching on

For every adverse event that is reported in a hospital, there are likely 100 or maybe 1000 near misses that often go unreported.  Those close calls contain a wealth of information regarding systemic problems within a hospital.  Some hospitals have expanded their computerized reporting system to catch these problems.  For example, Children's Hospital in Denver did this.  After an electronic, web-based, secure, anonymous reporting system for anesthesiologists was put in place, a total of 150 incidents were reported in the first 3 months of operation, compared to four entered in the same time period a year previous.  "This . . . provided data to target and drive quality and process improvement."

Johns Hopkins uses another approach, a Good Catch Award. As noted in this paper presented to the Maryland Patient Safety Center last year:

The Good Catch Award creates positive incentives for providers and staff to report patient safety events. At the institutional level, the Good Catch Award encourages individuals to identify and report adverse events, near-misses, or other medical errors. The program rewards individuals who contribute and has been received positively by many providers and staff. The pilot phase of this program focused on identifying defects in the perioperative environment and devising a partial solution. The current phase of the Good Catch Award program shifts its focus to sustainability and strategies to maintain the implemented systems changes that resulted from the 13 Good Catch Awards given in the past two and a half years. This includes an educational component for providers, one of the original steps in the Good Catch Award process, to ensure better dissemination of information and implementation of systems improvements throughout the ACCM department. The program is ongoing in its effort to identify defects, formulate solutions, and recognize those who actively work to create a safer environment.

Here's a summary chart of the results:

This kind of program also exists at the University of Connecticut Health Center.  As noted:

John Dempsey Hospital's goal is to change any negative perceptions healthcare providers and others may have about reporting errors. Staff is encouraged to report near misses. It helps to identify areas where patients’ quality of care and safety might be improved. Reporting a near miss is considered a “good catch” and comes with rewards:

  • Good Catch award certificate.
  • Good Catch lapel pin.
  • Special recognition within the Health Center community.
  • A copy of the award certificate in Human Resources personnel file.
  • Sincere thanks for dedication to patient safety and personal satisfaction.
  • Reviews of all good catches to determine if additional safety measures should be implemented.
At our hospital, we had a Caller-Outer of the Month Award, similar in concept.  Instead of honoring someone who had solved a problem, our Board decided they would honor someone who had called out a problem. The idea was to provide further encouragement through the organization to those who notice and mention problems. 

These are all variations on the theme. All approaches lead to much good and are worth a look to be considered for emulation elsewhere.

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