A Core Value

Safety is at the heart of delivering world-class health care. Because it is an intrinsic component of any health care organization, Memorial recognized the need for cultivating safety as a core value and building a culture of safety. To have safety resonate from every surgery suite, waiting room, hallway and office within Memorial, hospital leaders ventured outside the walls of the health care industry to learn strategies and innovations that could be adapted to a hospital setting. Memorial was selected as the American test hospital for DuPont safety procedures in 2005 in order to learn about the company’s safety methodology and identify ways to implement safety procedures.

What hospital leadership also learned was the significance of gaining a full commitment to safety from every constituency – employees, patients, contractors and guests. An emotional and intellectual connection surrounding safety between Memorial and its Team Members was achieved to secure this unwavering commitment. For safety to permeate its way throughout every corner of the hospital and to implement visible strategies, leaders created an innovative brand – Safety is a Promise. Since this time, Memorial leaders have worked with safety experts at Behavioral Science Technology and others to build the safety value into everyday.

Safety Pledge

All employees at Memorial share in the commitment to safety. Each year, all staff take the Safety Pledge for renewed dedication to the importance of the safety value.

"Safety is a promise to the families who place their lives and well-being of their loved ones in our hands. We are committed to fulfilling this promise by:

  • Ensuring effective safety systems are in place;
  • Never walking by an unsafe situation; and,
  • Reporting problems openly and immediately to assure the safety of all.

We will broadly share our safety lessons throughout the health care industry."

Key Safety Policies for Improved Customer Service:

  • Patient identification name badge checking
  • Hand washing
  • Fall prevention

Across the board

A multi-pronged strategy was developed to focus on immediate actions, as well as a long-term plan to continually improve upon the hospital’s safety record. An assessment tool was utilized that enabled hospital leadership to examine their leadership style, safety performance and best practices. As a result, leaders identified their strengths and gaps in safety efforts. Front-line employees were also engaged in the assessment process and were invited to offer feedback and observations, creating a safety culture that reached all levels of participation.

Among the most innovative safety improvements was the employee-led creation of "Red Zone," a closed-off, distraction-free room where nurses can prepare medications. This was made possible by the development of the SafeMeds working team. Behavioral Science Technology trained 30 Team Members in safety methodologies such as behavior observation and feedback. Memorial then began the observation and feedback process, administered by the SafeMeds team.

The SafeMeds team worked with the nurses and pharmacy staff in five different units – those units identified as having the highest volume of medication distribution and highest risk medications. The team observed the nurses’ and pharmacy staff’s practices against a defined list of behaviors, such as disallowing interruptions and comparing the patient’s name band to the medication and patient chart. The team then provided feedback to the units. Since the behavior observation and feedback process begin, SafeMeds has measured an increased rate of positive behaviors.

Contributing Source: VHA Foundation