Healthcare Safety Culture: A Seven-Step Success Framework (Executive Report)

Preventable patient harm costs healthcare billions annually, making strategies to improve patient safety an imperative for health systems. To improve patient safety, organizations must establish a safety culture that prioritizes safety throughout the system, supports blame-free reporting of safety events, and ensures that healthcare IT solutions functions and accessibility align with safety goals.

A sociotechnical framework gives health systems a seven-part roadmap to improving patient safety culture:

  1. Leverages qualitative and quantitative data.
  2. Doesn’t rely on HIMSS stage levels to tell the complete safety picture.
  3. Gives frontline clinicians a voice in decision making.
  4. Makes IT solutions accessible to non-technical users.
  5. Encourages frontline clinicians to report safety and quality issues.
  6. Treats a safety issue in one area as a potential systemwide risk.
  7. Performs thorough due diligence before taking safety IT solutions live.

How to Use Data to Improve Patient Safety (Executive Report)

Healthcare organizations have worked hard to improve patient safety over the past several decades, however harm is still occurring at an unacceptable rate. Though the healthcare industry has made efforts (largely regulatory) to reduce patient harm, these measures are often not integrated with health system quality improvement efforts and may not result in fewer adverse events. This is largely because they fail to integrate regulatory data with improvement initiatives and, thus, to turn patient harm information into actionable insight.

Fully integrated clinical, cost, and operational data coupled with predictive analytics and machine learning are crucial to patient safety improvement. Tools that leverage this methodology will identify risk and suggest interventions across the continuum of care.