Culture of safety starts with hospital leaders

In an era when medical errors are the nation's third-leading cause of death and hospitals are increasingly at risk for penalties for unsafe practices, healthcare leaders need more tools in order to foster a culture of safety, according to Executive Insight.

While the number of hospitals facing readmissions penalties from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is down from last year's record high, meaningful reduction begins at the executive level.

The article lists several such tools, but notes that good communication and transparency are key.

It's vital to communicate the "what" and "where" of a contagious patient, according to the article, and leaders should make sure there is a system in place to instantly get the word out in a way that informs without creating a sense of panic, according to the article.

Employees shouldn't have to actively hunt to confirm a patient's infection status, instead checking to see if there is a single source any employee can use to access this information, the article notes.

Communication is often cited as a remedy for many of healthcare's biggest challenges--poor communication between hospital clinicians and primary care providers results in poor care coordination after discharge and a greater chance of patient readmissions, for example. But improving communication remains a challenge itself: One study estimated that hospitals waste $11 billion a year on inefficient communication.   

To learn more:
- read the article