MHA Hospital Spotlight: HGB focuses on safety culture

Published Wednesday, Oct. 4 by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association

Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital (HGB) believes in continuous improvement in all that it does, whether within the confines of its hospital walls in Charlotte, or out enhancing  the well-being of the people and communities it serves. Those who work at HGB strive on a daily basis, through a variety of tactics, to improve quality, safety culture, and become a more highly reliable organization (HRO). 

“As a Tier II HRO hospital, we know that habits are one of the most important things that differentiates a regular organization from a highly reliable organization,” said Michelle Voss, RN, BSN, risk manager, HGB.

To become more highly reliable, HGB has adopted best practice leadership methods for daily operations. For example, HGB implemented daily, 15-minute safety briefings to promote patient safety culture and awareness, increase internal transparency, address problems and concerns, and report valuable information to continue its commitment to zero patient and employee harm.

Collectively, it has allowed HGB senior leaders to see what is happening at the front line and directors and managers to be aware of what is occurring in other areas and the cross department impact.

“We identified that our daily safety briefing serves as a high-leverage technique in fostering a reliability culture that drives safety results as well as overall results,” said Voss. “It is, by far, our most important meeting of the day.”

The HGB daily safety briefing agenda was adopted from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center offers monthly listening opportunities during its daily operations brief. Voss opted to participate in one and asked for additional daily operation brief documents and information. She also did online research on the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management website to review important definitions, such as patient safety and harm classifications. Voss compiled all of the information she obtained and formed new briefing forms specifically for HGB.

From there, the HGB executive team decided, and ultimately finalized, which information was valuable to report from an organization standpoint during daily safety briefings. The information included: significant safety concerns within the last 24 hours, such as patient/employee events that resulted in harm; anticipated safety issues within the next 24 hours, such as critical patients, new procedures, new high-risk medications to be administered; deficiencies in staffing or resources; and equipment failures or concerns. Leaders are also asked to report on follow-up, which is a status report of issues identified at the preceding day’s safety briefing and their current safety status, specific to their department. 

The daily safety briefings have proved to be effective by helping to increase awareness among departments as well as allowing team members to be more proactive about future events.

In addition to the daily safety briefings, HGB has created other programs that are centered on its HRO journey and commitment to zero patient and employee harm.

Speak Up Now (SUN) Award: The SUN Award program started in July 2017. Each month, the HGB Patient Safety Team reviews the monthly nomination forms and chooses an individual who spoke up to prevent patient or employee harm.  A small presentation is held with the winner, the leadership from the winner’s department, and the overall HBG leadership team. Every year, one annual winner is chosen from the 12 monthly winners and given a yearly membership to AL!VE, HGB's experienced-based health park. All winners’ names and speak-up stories are posted on HGBuzz, which is HGB’s intranet.

“It is important for HGB to promote a culture of safety in order for staff to understand we promote a blame-free culture with accountability for actions,” said Voss. “It is very important, and hopefully it will encourage staff to report errors without retribution, and thus, create a safer environment for both patients and employees.” 

This article was featured in the new MHA Keystone Center Newsletter. To subscribe, please contact Ashley Sandborn, MHA Keystone Center communications specialist.