Michigan Hospitals Tackle Patient Engagement, Safety Culture

Posted on March 09, 2018

Patient Safety Awareness Week logoThis year’s Patient Safety Awareness week takes place March 11-17 and focuses on two important issues: patient engagement and safety culture.

Patient safety has made significant progress over the years. However, preventable harm and medical error continue to be sources of major concern to patients. Michigan hospitals are continually working to improve the delivery of care — particularly regarding collaboration among patients, families and providers — as well as adopting a strong cultural stance on patient safety. Examples from three MHA-member hospitals are outlined here.

Bronson Healthcare

In 2006, Bronson Healthcare, Kalamazoo, started its first patient and family advisory council (PFAC) in the women’s and children’s areas to gain patient and family feedback while relocating its Birthplace and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. The process was so successful that the PFAC expanded from 12 to 42 members and all areas of the hospital in 2008.

Since then, Bronson has developed 14 PFACs representing four hospitals and 12 physician practices that participate in activities and initiatives that support patient- and family-centered care throughout the system of care at Bronson.

Over the past 10 years, PFACs have been engaged in countless projects and been a voice in major decisions systemwide. Examples include participation on 14 hospital committees, such as patient safety, ethics, preventing workplace violence, and the system Quality Oversight Board of Directors.

Patient and family engagement is a vital component of the overall culture at Bronson because it demonstrates that patients and families are at the center of the organization. Patients and patient advisors are viewed as part of the care team and their feedback on personal experiences allows for safer care and a better overall experience.

Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, currently has 18 Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs) that represent the overall patient, family and member experience at Spectrum and strengthen collaborative relationships among patients, families and healthcare professionals.

The words, ideas and diverse experiences of PFAC members help shape Spectrum’s policies and programs that focus on patient-centered care and Spectrum’s care model. The role of PFACs and the patient’s voice or perspective is deemed so important at Spectrum that leadership designs new programs and buildings with their valuable input.

Spectrum PFACs are focused on areas of health throughout the health system. Active committees are working in at least 10 Spectrum Health facilities throughout west Michigan.

Hills & Dales General Hospital

Cass City-based Hills & Dales Hospital is committed to building a culture of safety from the ground up. Staff is introduced to the scope of safety within the organization during onboarding and orientation — what safety means, individual roles and responsibilities regarding safety, error reporting and the importance of transparency. 

Staff excellence is promoted and celebrated monthly — particularly those individuals who go above and beyond the call of duty. Staff are also continually encouraged to speak up when an issue needs to be addressed about safety concerns. Issues that staff members bring up are addressed and answered promptly by hospital administration. Additionally, administration considers items on the employee survey to be a top priority.

Featured in Monday Report. Click for the full edition.Overall, Hills & Dales believes in continuous growth and improvement and recognizes every process can be eliminated, simplified or standardized.

Members with questions about Patient Safety Awareness Week or how MHA-member hospitals are promoting patient safety should contact the MHA Keystone Center.


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  • Michigan Hospitals Tackle Patient Engagement, Safety Culture

Tags: MHA Keystone Center, Patient Safety and Quality, 15 Years of Safe Care, National Patient Safety Awareness Week

Posted in: Patient Safety & Quality

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