Patient safety efforts must start with hospital culture

Hospital and healthcare system administrators must take a "multi-pronged" approach to improving hospital culture, a key component to ensure patient safety, according to an article at Becker's Hospital Review.

"Any time you conduct a root cause analysis of preventable patient injury, you find that culture in a way is the mother of all root causes," Catherine Miller, R.N., senior risk management and patient safety specialist for the Cooperative of American Physicians, told Becker's.

Hospital culture is defined as the shared organizational beliefs of the institution's administration and staff, Miller said. It can make or break an organization's efforts to improve patient safety. In organizations where the culture is broken or has gone unaddressed for a lengthy period of time, divisions can form among stakeholders. Administration can find itself at odds with frontline caregivers, or departments can squabble amongst themselves. .

There are a number of ways to address culture within the organization, according to Miller. These include detailed surveys of staff to find out where they feel supported and where they do not, as well as whether they have the resources they need to function efficiently and whether they feel comfortable addressing problems with leaders. Hospital leaders should also listen to patient stories, find out what has worked for other organizations, conduct regular "walk-arounds" and visits to workers and to consistently measure workforce safety, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

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