Healthcare News & Insights

How one state’s hospitals reduced infections, boosted safety

To reduce the incidence of infections and boost safety in its hospitals, one state is taking an innovative approach.

Ohio’s hospitals have led the nation in collaborative efforts to improve safety.

Last fall, the Ohio Hospital Association announced that a partnership between 53 hospitals reduced central line-associated bloodstream infections in the ICU by almost 50% in a 22-month period, saving millions of dollars – and several patients’ lives.

Three years ago, Ohio’s eight children’s hospitals teamed up with a common goal of reducing infections.

Together, the children’s hospitals managed to reduce surgical site infections for various cardiac, neurosurgery and orthopedic procedures by 60%. They also achieved a 34.5% reduction in adverse drug reactions.

Combined, these efforts managed to keep over 7,700 children from harm. And it saved the hospitals a whopping $11.8 million in healthcare costs.

How can your facility emulate these results?

Do as these hospitals did — make safety a top priority, and practice what you preach.

The children’s hospitals in Ohio did.

There, each and every employee, from clinicians to custodians, is trained in patient safety. All staff members are encouraged to make a personal commitment to safety so they can head off potential problems before they start.

Each staff member is held accountable for maintaining an open line of communication between patients, so they’ll feel free to address any safety concerns. And the hospitals have standard protocols staff can follow when it comes to patient communication.

Employees are encouraged to first understand the patient’s situation, getting all background info, before making an assessment and recommending a course of action.

Questions are also welcomed, from both patients and staff. To get to the root of any potential problems, they’re encouraged to find answers to their questions, and ensure the responses are accurate by evaluating the answers to make sure they make sense.

Patients and staff are also encouraged to double-check the sources for any safety info, and discuss the proposed course of treatment with an expert before proceeding.

Above all, the hospital staff works as a team to keep patients safe.

The hospitals are also committed to transparency, and they share data and ideas related to safety freely with each other.

The goal is to use this information to come up with concrete policies for patient safety that take a variety of situations and perspectives into account.

Creating this culture of safety, where ideas and info are openly shared, makes a huge difference – and it starts from the top down.

Setting a high level of personal accountability, and reinforcing it through policies and training, is key to ensuring safety is important to all employees. Ultimately, a proactive focus on patient safety will help hospitals provide high-quality treatment while saving costs.

For more information on bolstering patient safety, visit the websites for the Ohio hospital collaborations:  solutionsforpatientsafety.org and www.ohiopatientsafety.org.

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