Manske said. RRH measures every
department, the day of week, the shift,
the time of the event.
“Do weekend nights appear to
have more injuries? Where do we lose
money and time? That’s where we
focus time and effort.”
Marsh, RRH’s broker, performs a
gap analysis to measure the company’s
practices against industry best
practices. PMA reports back to RRH
Initial analysis of incident reports
showed two primary loss leaders: slips
and falls and safe patient handling. The
data then identified the departments
and shifts with frequent incidents.
To effectively communicate the
data as well as its implications, RRH
Communication and collaboration
are essential to creating a safe workplace,
Manske said. “We’re high-engagement
leaders.” Daily department huddles
address safety issues, as well as other
concerns. And rather than delegating
communications responsibilities to
department leaders, the safety team
meets one-on-one with supervisors and
staff. “We want to hear what the issues
are. I want to see and hear.”
Manske said she’s not always “the
solutions person.” Often that role
goes to the front-line manager in a
department or a staff member.
“We collaborate. If a remedy doesn’t
work, we reconvene. It’s a check-back
These communications and a
willingness to learn from failure,
Manske said, are best practices among
high-reliability organizations, those
that avoid catastrophes in high-risk and
And RRH reduced claims
dramatically over the years, Bolesh
said. “What gets measured gets done.”
ROI ON SAFE PATIENT HANDLING
RRH utilizes a different species of
technology — some very low-tech —
for safe patient handling. It may use
slide boards, friction-reducing sheets
and air mats to reduce wear and tear
on staff involved in direct patient care,
Most equipment is close at hand,
outside patients’ rooms, in accordance
with fire code.
Typically, hospital floors are
equipped with one patient lift per eight
patients. Some rooms are equipped
with expensive overhead lifts for safe
transfer of heavier patients, and every
intensive care unit has at least one.
Nursing homes, where patients
are more dependent, may have two or
three lifts per unit.
Is this prohibitively expensive for
leaner facilities? No, said Muratore.
RRH, a community-based hospital
system, shops strategically to find
equipment that’s well within budget
while still achieving safety goals.
Even cash-poor hospitals “do have
funding but don’t realize it,” Muratore
said. Yes, they must invest in the
equipment, but “ROI is very quick.
We realized savings in patient and staff
safety right away.”
Do some staff skip safety steps
because of time pressure or old habits?
“Yes, and then we participate
with them,” Muratore said. She may
perform patient care alongside the
resistant staff member to demonstrate.
“Once they practice the safe way, a
lightbulb goes off.”
With luck, the lightbulb goes off
before injury, she said, but “sometimes
an injured colleague is the best safety
advocate on the floor. We want staff to
work smarter, not harder.” &
SUSANNAH LEVINE writes about health
care, education and technology. She can be
reached at email@example.com.