Safety First Inspires New Safety Culture at CHI Mercy Health

Mistakes happen. But at CHI Mercy Health, work is under way to eliminate mistakes that harm patients.

SafetyFirst is a multi-faceted program that will strengthen the organization’s commitment to always put patient, employee and medical staff safety first. This initiative helps CHI Mercy Health instill a new safety culture and reach its goal of zero safety errors that harm patients.

Employees and members of CHI Mercy Health’s medical staff participated in safety and error-prevention training learning behaviors proven to significantly reduce the number of safety errors in other health care organizations. Doctors and nurses at CHI Mercy Health have already adopted techniques used by “highly reliable” industries, such as naval and commercial aviation, and nuclear power. Some of these SafetyFirst techniques include: daily check in, safety coaches and mandatory education on SafetyFirst techniques for all new employees to CHI Mercy Health. Daily check in occurs Monday thru Friday and involve one member from each department of the hospital. At this morning huddle, each person reports on any safety concerns for staff or patients. This allows all departments to know if the concern is of value to their department and allows for managers to take away issues to make changes to help prevent safety related concerns. Safety coaches received additional training in SafetyFirst coaching and are involved with not only direct observations of care and SafetyFirst techniques but also in coaching and encouraging staff to use the tools that they have learned. The coaches meet monthly to talk about concerns and receive feedback and guidance in handling various opportunities to coach staff in safety techniques.

SafetyFirst is a national strategy coordinated by Catholic health Initiatives (CHI), CHI Mercy Health’s parent organization. CHI will continue to implement and optimize SafetyFirst over the next few years.