I’m Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, with “The Business of Health Care Report.” Those of us who’ve been driving a car for decades probably don’t think much anymore about how to operate the car. We’ve done it so many times, it’s routine. Unfortunately, all too often, with routine comes inattention. For example, you probably don’t drive your car exactly the way you were taught — with your hands in the “10” and “2” positions on the steering wheel.
Falling into routine is exactly what we in the healthcare industry hope to avoid. No matter how many times a nurse, physician, or other care provider has drawn blood, taken blood pressure, or prepared for a surgery, these tasks should never become routine. In order to deliver the highest quality care to each patient, our goal is to carry out each task with meticulous attention to detail.
This is precisely the thinking behind the Safe Surgery initiative. As a tool to improve communication, patient safety and outcomes during surgical and invasive procedures, Texas Health hospitals have begun implementing the World Health Organization’s Surgical Safety Checklist.
A 2009 study by the WHO revealed that use of the checklist with enhanced communication in the operating room reduces complications and deaths associated with surgery. While our hospitals already adhere to many elements of the Surgical Safety Checklist, full adoption of the checklist will make our processes more robust and consistent, promoting better communication between all members of the surgical team.
For our faith-based family of hospitals — Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial — I’m Doug Hawthorne.