Zero is the most important number when it comes to patient safety at the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center. Zero incidences of preventable treatment errors translate into healthier patients and hospitals according to Ramona Moseley, executive director of quality and patient safety at the community hospital in Rio Rancho.
And, getting to zero begins with trust and employees knowing that it is ok to report a problem, said Moseley.
“When something goes wrong, we want our focus to be on what - rather than who - is the problem. We want our staff to know that, not only can they can bring up any concern they may have but that we encourage them to do so. Our intent always is to bring process failures and system issues to light and then to solve them,” said Moseley.
Data is regularly presented to staff to raise awareness and promote conversations surrounding patient safety. Quality is a daily discussion in departments throughout the hospital and with medical center executive leadership, she said.
“Reporting systems are in place to help identify areas in need of improvement, and to monitor the quality improvements over time,” she continued.
The hospital has also established a multi-discipline group, the Zero Harm Committee, which provides oversight and process improvement, said Moseley.
Concentrating on individual processes has resulted in a number of success stories. An initiative to focus on medication reconciliation at admission resulted in a 35 percent improvement within 10 months. Another SRMC priority – to have providers use sepsis order sets for early identification and treatment of sepsis, resulted in a 50 percent improvement, said Moseley.
May 8 -14 is National Hospital Week in New Mexico, and hospitals across the state are highlighting their Quality Care programs. Seventy health care leaders last month attended the New Mexico Hospital Association Patient Safety Summit, where they shared best practices and discussed how to create a culture of quality and safety in hospitals throughout the state. According to the hospital association, fully half of the hospitals eligible to report on specific safety indicators demonstrated zero errors for certain urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, falls and pressure injuries.
SRMC also participates in one of 17 national Hospital Engagement Networks that are tasked with reducing preventable in-hospital complications. It has been estimated by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that since their beginning in 2010, these networks have been responsible for a reduction of two million cases of in-hospital complications and adverse events, saving an estimated 87,000 lives and reducing health care costs by $20 billion. In New Mexico, these network initiatives are credited with reducing harm by 31 percent and saving an estimated $5 million in health care costs.
All those successes began with conversations and looking for ways to bring preventable treatment errors down to zero, said Moseley.
“Our culture of safety all comes down to fostering an environment where staff speak up and are dedicated to helping achieve zero harm,” she said.