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'The Business of Health Care Report'

Creating a Culture of Safety
12/07/2009

Click to listen to the taped broadcast.

I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.”

You may not think a nuclear power plant or the flight deck of a Navy aircraft carrier have much in common with your local hospital. But they share an important common denominator: Safety is priority one.

Hospitals are complex organizations in which critical decisions regarding life and death are made not day-by-day, but minute-by-minute. Delivering quality care requires many people, multiple steps, and careful coordination. That’s why Texas Health has studied the safety practices of high-risk industries such as aviation and nuclear power. These industries are experienced in creating cultures of safety among workers and reinforcing the message of safety in everything from the organization’s structure to its practices, controls and policies.

Texas Health is working to apply some of the lessons learned from these high-risk industries. One example is Safe Choices training, which is mandated for every Texas Health employee from housekeeping to administration to front-line patient care. This training encourages employees to always report on-the-job risks, because we can’t improve safety if we are uninformed about vulnerabilities.

Safe Choices emphasizes accountability and learning from mistakes. It teaches us to share valuable lessons, anticipate errors before they occur, and evaluate risk in the decisions we make.

For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.

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