January 6, 2011

Safety roundtable examines health care’s culture

Safety roundtable examines health care’s culture

Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Owen Graduate School of Management recently hosted the Lucian Leape Institute (LLI) Roundtable on patient safety.

LLI is named for its chairman, Lucian Leape, a leader of the patient safety movement.

The roundtable, “Creating Habitual Excellence in Patient Safety Through Optimizing Workforce Experience: Pursuit of Workforce Safety, Joy, and Meaning in the Work of Health Care,” examined respect for health care workers and health care workforce safety as two preconditions for excellence in patient safety.

“The importance of culture and leadership for creating habitual excellence in the delivery of care was at the center of the discussion,” said Julie Morath, R.N., M.S., chief quality and patient safety officer at VUMC and a founding member of LLI.

According to Morath, the consensus of the roundtable was that, in order to support patient safety, everyone who works in health care ought to be able to affirm the following:

• I am treated with respect and dignity by everyone with whom I work;

• I have the education, training, tools and protection from risk that I need to perform optimally;

• I am recognized for my contribution; and

• My personal safety and that of my colleagues is a priority for my organization.

The roundtable will reconvene this summer to endorse final recommendations for dissemination to health care leaders. The recommendations will also help direct research.

In 2009, LLI set out five signposts for transformation of health care: transparency, care integration, patient/consumer engagement, medical education reform and restoration of joy and meaning in work.

The roundtable at Vanderbilt was part of a series devoted to developing these premises into concrete recommendations.

Participants included health care experts from Carnegie Mellon University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Harvard University, Vanderbilt, Voluntary Hospitals of America, Hospital Corporation of America, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, Henry Ford Health System, University of Michigan Health System and Tennessee Hospital Association.

Also participating were representatives from private industry and a representative from the nation's largest resident physicians labor union, the Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU.

The Owen Graduate School of Management and the National Patient Safety Foundation partnered to design and host the roundtable.

The moderator was Francis Hartmann, a senior research fellow with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.