Keeping patients free from harm as a result of medical errors and poor communication continues to be one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry.
Five years ago, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) set in motion an aggressive agenda to become one of the safest healthcare systems in the country. By the end of 2010, HHC patient safety achievements were marked with a series of national awards, dramatic decreases in preventable infection, and dozens of innovations to minimize errors, ensure transparency, improve communication among clinical teams, and engage patients in their own care.
“We are safer today. We become safer every day. By every measure, we are making HHC a high-performing, reliable organization. Our goal is to become the healthcare system of choice for all New Yorkers because we provide safe, high-quality care,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “Among one of our most dramatic improvements is the decline of central-line bloodstream infection rates by nearly 50 percent and an 80 percent decrease in ventilator-associated pneumonias, with some facilities going more than a year without a single such infection.”
An important element of that success has been the ability of professional staff members to come together and work to make things better.
“I have seen that patient safety has the binding power to pull staff together, and working together toward a common goal changes people. They deliver care differently, they see their colleagues as partners, not competitors, and they see patients and healthcare in a different light,” said Michael Stocker, MD, Chairman of the HHC Board of Directors.
To chronicle the progress made in the last four-years, HHC developed Believing, a four-part multimedia series highlighting the public healthcare system’s patient safety accomplishments. It features the true experiences of doctors, nurses, administrative staff, and patients, and combines data, film, photography, and narrative to tell the story. The Believing series can be viewed on the HHC website, www.nyc.gov/hhc, and is presented in the following episodes:
Walking the Talk – At HHC, executives walk the patient safety talk every day. They put recommendations and guidelines for patient safety into action.
Working Together – Patient safety depends on doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, housekeepers, and many others working together to provide the best possible care.
Reaching Out – Safe care involves communicating effectively with patients, families and the diverse communities served by HHC.
Innovating for Tomorrow – By adopting many tools and embracing technology, HHC has achieved better communication with patients, staff and communities.
“HHC’s exemplary accomplishments in patient safety are an amazing story,” said Diane Pinakiewicz, President of the National Patient Safety Foundation.
“Their ability to move forward together and make progress is remarkable, especially for the largest municipal safety net system in the country operating with limited resources. It’s an example for others around the country to follow.”