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Walter Reed Bethesda ‘United for Patient Safety’


By WRNMMC Command Communications

In an effort to raise awareness and encourage the engagement of patients, families, health care providers, and the public, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is again participating in Patient Safety Awareness Week, this year March 11-17.
Events planned at WRNMMC for the observance include:
• A cake cutting at 8:30 a.m. March 12 in the Arrowhead Building near the Pulmonary Clinic
• A daily table display beginning March 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and continuing March 13-16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Arrowhead Building near the Pulmonary Clinic
• A webcast concerning “Engaging Patients and Providers: Speaking Up for Patient Safety” from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to be broadcast March 12 from 1 to 2 p.m. (For more information about the webcast, visit: http://www.ihi.org/education/WebTraining/Webinars/Engaging_Patients_and_Providers_Speaking_Up_for_Patient_Safety/Pages/default.aspx)
• A code cart review and navigation contest in the Arrowhead Building near the Pulmonary Clinic
• A poster contest for staff and patients focused on “What Does Patient Safety Mean to You?”
Highlighting this year’s theme United for Patient Safety, Patient Safety Awareness Week is intended to spark dialogue, promote action to improve the safety of the health care system for patients and the workforce, and instill the message that “every day is patient safety day."
“While there have been improvements in patient safety over the past 20 years, there is still much work to be done,” said Dr. Tejal K. Gandhi, chief clinical and safety officer at IHI, a leader in the observance of Patient Safety Awareness Week nationally.
Walter Reed Bethesda encourages patients, families and other beneficiaries to take part in the campaign by pledging to be active members of their health care teams and participating in care decisions and asking questions.
Navy Capt. (Dr.) Mark A. Kobelja, director of WRNMMC, has expressed pride in the work of Team WRNMMC to make the medical center a safe, leading health care provider. WRNMMC successfully completed its third Joint Commission survey Feb. 16 following a week-long review by JC surveyors who assessed the medical center’s quality and safety of care, as well as its administrative procedures. In addition, WRNMMC's recently renewed its laboratory and blood bank accreditations with best in history inspections, the director stated.
"We have seen a precipitous drop in hospital acquired infections because of systematic team-based communication and strategy," Kobelja continued. "Our patient census is up across the board because our patients choose to get their care with you, [and] I ask for your continued unrelenting focus on improving outcomes for our patients,” he continued.
Kobelja emphasized that modern medicine and its delivery is complex and more dangerous than ever. “Safety for the patient and our staff hinges on our collective awareness of what can go wrong. Use the safety huddles. Check and cross-check. Ask yourself and your team ‘What can go wrong?’ Take action. In particular, pay attention to small deviations and bad habits. Small errors accumulate to create disasters.”
He also encouraged staff to “recruit the patient and their family into our sensor net. They are here 24/7 and see and hear everything. Renew your commitment to hear them. Ask them if there is anything we could have done better. When they tell you, address it if you can, report it via the chain of command or as a Patient Safety Report. Listening to the ‘customer’ is the key and applies to all of us, not just leaders or clinicians.
“Improve yourself and the hospital processes in your area,” Kobelja added. “If it’s safe and you believe it will improve the quality of the health care we provide, take action. Participate in innovation and quality forums. Make suggestions in your work center. Join work groups. Participate. The most effective and most durable changes have come from the front lines. We are listening,” Kobelja added.
For more information about Patient Safety Awareness Week at WRNMMC, contact Deborah McDonough, chief of Patient Safety at WRNMMC, at deborah.a.mcdonough4.civ@mail.mil.