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Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital: Communication Is Key

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Background: Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital (MLMH) defines a culture of safety "as a pattern of behavior, both individual and organizational, and an underlying philosophy that seeks to minimize hazards and harm to patients that result from the processes of care." The hospital's strategic plan designates quality of care as its first priority, and one of its two priority goals is "To continue to identify and implement patient safety initiatives that will positively affect care delivery processes while minimizing patient safety errors, defects, and sentinel events, and striving for zero defects."

Patient Safety as a Leadership and Organizational Priority: An occurrence in 2000 highlighted the need for a standardized medication administration process. It is anticipated that the ongoing bar-code point-of-care technology project will significantly reduce medication administration errors as they relate to the five rights, better capture near-miss data for further analysis, and increase nursing personnel time efficiency.

Challenges and Lessons Learned: MLMH has experienced three significant challenges in implementing and sustaining a culture of safety. First, as the central component of all patient safety activities, communication requires constant vigilance. Second, on the basis of the experience, for example, with the bar-code point-of-care technology project, introducing technology presents a variety of challenges. Third, although many patient safety initiatives can be accomplished with minimal funding, large-scale initiatives usually necessitate a significant financial commitment.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2004

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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