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Patient Safety Leadership WalkRounds™ at Partners HealthCare: Learning from Implementation

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Background: Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) began Patient Safety Leadership WalkRounds™ in January 2001; its experience, along with that of three other Partner Healthcare hospitals, is reported.

Collecting Data on WalkRounds: Data were obtained from interviews with patient safety personnel, WalkRounds scribes, and senior leaders.

Findings: A total of 233 one-hour WalkRounds during 28 months yielded 1,433 comments—30% related to equipment, 13% to communications, 7% to pharmacy, and 6% to workforce. Actions occurred quickly in small hospitals. Formal processes for managing larger issues were necessary in large organizations. Implementation feasibility featured more prominently than severity in determining actions.

Discussion: The study generated essential guidelines for success—for example, the supporting resources must include the maintenance of effective information databases that identify actions taken, and the discussions during WalkRounds are influenced by who in leadership is participating, their ability to quietly listen, and whether they have clinical or nonclinical backgrounds.

Conclusions: WalkRounds appears to be an effective tool for engaging leadership, identifying safety issues, and supporting a culture of safety.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • 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.

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