Your Safety is Our Number One Priority
Skagit Regional Health is committed to providing safe, quality patient care. We embrace transparency in public reporting of quality measurements and national scorecards to promote education and awareness among consumers. Of all our goals, standards and priorities, our patients’ safety is the most important.
Because of this, we’re investing many of our resources to improving patient safety throughout our health system. We’ve undertaken and implemented several key patient safety best-practices, including:
Safety Huddles Track Issues and Raise Awareness
Safety huddles are a well-known best practice in healthcare. Every morning, leaders from across the organization gather to discuss any issues, or potential issues, that could affect patient care. They walk through a standardized template that prompts discussions about potential issues such as hand-off communications concerns, environmental challenges, behavioral risks, technology breakdowns, medication or supply shortages and other issues that need to be top of mind.
During each huddle, any outstanding issues from the previous day are revisited and any new concerns are brought up. This process allows leaders to track issues and raise awareness immediately when new issues arise. The daily safety huddle has proven to be a method to quickly gather the right people to address an issue, usually leading to quick resolution and, often, the formation of a new process to prevent a future concern.
Programs Targeting Specific Conditions
Our teams across Skagit Regional Health have implemented several ongoing initiatives to address or prevent specific safety conditions or situations, including:
- Infection Prevention and Control is a key program to minimize or prevent the spread of infections in patients, and we have several quality metrics specifically focused on infection control. To compare infection rates of our hospitals with other Washington facilities, visit Healthcare Associated Infections, sponsored by the state Department of Health.
- Falls Prevention is another key program where patients who are at risk of falling are identified, such as those who have undergone hip or knee-replacement surgery, and a series of interventions are deployed to prevent a fall.
- Pressure Injuries Prevention is important for reducing or eliminating preventable pressure injuries such as pressure sores, which can develop when patients are in the same position for too long. This program helps providers identify patients at risk of developing pressure injuries and triggers strategies to minimize their potential for developing an injury.
Leadership Rounding to Boost Quality and Patient Safety
Our teams at Skagit Regional Health have embraced leadership rounding as an initiative to help boost quality and patient safety. This is also a best practice among healthcare organizations, where each leader of the organization sets aside an hour per day to talk to staff and patients.
As part of this initiative, we’ve adopted the GREAT program, which is an acronym reminding leaders to greet, relate, explain, ask and thank when interacting with patients and staff. This helps with both employee and patient engagement and helps leaders keep a pulse on what’s going on in all aspects of the organization.
Patient Safety Advancements Through Technology
Technology, such as our comprehensive electronic health record system, can ensure key clinical information is in front of clinicians when they need it, enhancing patient safety. However, new uses of technology, including the two programs below, are also increasing patient safety and care accessibility for patients.
- Robotics Program: Skagit Regional Health has surgical expertise with fellowship-training in robotic surgery. We’ve recently added top-of-the-line robotics equipment, enabling this surgery to be performed safely right here in the communities we serve. Surgery performed in this way is proven to reduce incision size, pain, infection rate and length of stay.
- TeleStroke Program: Minutes count when a patient is experiencing a stroke. We participate in Swedish Medical Center’s TeleStroke program, which connects stroke victims with experts at Swedish, a regional leader in stroke care, via telehealth to assist in making a rapid diagnosis and treatment plan.