NAQH report on culture of safety garners support from ACPE, other contributors

The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) heralded its support for the National Association for Healthcare Quality’s (NAHQ) recent report — a document self-set with the exalted task of providing recommendations for the improvement of care quality in the U.S. via amendments to the current culture of safety.

[See also: ACPE testimony before subcommittee highlights current Medicare payment issues, provides solutions]

"We will never achieve long-term, meaningful change in health care if we do not continue strengthening our safety culture," said Peter Angood, MD, ACPE's CEO, in a press release."As the Call to Action illustrates, we must encourage deeper levels of accountability to all members of the clinical team and across all levels of the systems in which they work, so that patients' needs are met and continually improved in terms of safety, quality and reliability."   

The NAHQ report, titled "Call to Action: Safeguarding the Integrity of Healthcare Quality and Safety Systems", suggested the following steps which should be taken to incubate a safety of culture the healthcare industry can be proud of:

  • Create a focus on accountability for quality and safety as part of a strong and just culture.
  • Ensure protective structures are in place to encourage reporting of quality and safety concerns.
  • Ensure comprehensive, transparent, accurate data collection and reporting to internal and external oversight bodies.
  • Ensure effective responses to quality and safety concerns.
  • Foster teamwork and open communication and ensure effective oversight.  

“A strong safety culture is essential for any health care organization to maintain effective quality monitoring processes and ultimately preserve the integrity of health care quality and patient safety systems,” said Susan Goodwin, MSN RN, NAHQ Immediate Past President and assistant vice president, HCA in Nashville in a press releas. “Without a strong safety culture, frontline providers and management may fail to identify a concerning pattern of performance or a single event or may hesitate to report them.”

Goodwin added: “In any given situation where quality or patient safety is called into question, the process by which an issue is raised is considered is as important as the query itself. Not every concern about patient safety or quality of patient care will ultimately be deemed valid, but every reported concern deserves serious consideration. A culture that encourages such disclosures is critical to improved patient care.”

Jan Patterson, MD, MS, CPE, and Burdett Porter, MD, MMM, CPE, were two veteran ACPE members who participated in the framing of the NAHQ report; thus, the ACPE became one of several institutions directly involved in establishing the highly-advised safety tactics.

“NAHQ’s “Call to Action” provides detailed recommendations adopting best practices to enhance provider institution quality, improve ongoing safety reporting, and protect staff. NAHQ collaborated with several national health care professional organizations in developing the recommendations,” a NAQH press release reads.

Other organizations, aside from the ACPE, involved in the report-making process included:

  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE)
  • American Society for Health Risk Management (ASHRM)
  • National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS)
  • National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH)
  • National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF)
  • The Joint Commission   

The goal of the report, the ACPE and other collaborators believe, is to elevate care overall by fortifying patient safety protections and diminishing expensive medical errors through the creation of an environment where medical staffers are able to voice their concerns.

Read the full NAQH report here.

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