Thursday, January 28, 2010

Health System Grand Rounds

Grand Rounds for Everyone

North Shore LIJ Health System on Long Island is hosting a series of Grand Round presentations once a month. The system, one of the largest in the north east invited me and members of the Long Island Patient Safety Advisory Council to attend.

This week the speaker talked about patient safety rounds. High level administrators take one day a week and spend a good part of the day going to a department or floor of their hospital looking for problem related to patient safety. The speaker, from another New York health system talked about how important it is for every level of staff to know about patient safety and be involved in the patient safety process. “It’s not about the Joint Commission survey” he explained. “It’s about the patient”.

A member of the PSAC who couldn’t come asked representative from her organization to come. Kyle works in the emergency room of a Long Island hospital and is a paramedic with the local ambulance corp. Although Kyle’s specialty is not patient safety, he was very aware of the information being discussed and even answered some questions that were asked to the audience about patient safety procedures.

I have known about patient safety rounds for awhile because I am involved daily with patient safety and am very often at the “cutting edge” of what’s new in patient safety. I was, in fact surprised to learn that all hospitals are not presently doing patient safety rounds. But, I am just happy to see that they are starting.

The presentation, though interesting, I feared may be too clinical for someone who does not specialize in patient safety. So, I was deeply thankful when I asked Kyle what he thought and he said that it is important for the community to know that this is happening in hospitals.

The speaker talked about a young doctor who made an error prescribing medication that very seriously injured a patient. The “no blame culture” encouraged this to be a lesson for the physician. She was not fired but instead was retrained and had to do a paper on the topic of her retraining. This punishment would probably do a lot more to improve patient safety than firing a doctor but what about the patient who was injured - and the family. I hope they know that this doctor did not go back to work the next day as if nothing happened.

Transparency in healthcare is not just about the conversation following an unplanned event. It should at least be that we, the patient and community know what is being done to keep us safe to begin with.

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