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Patient safety

March 01, 2017

Sentinel Event Alert focuses on leadership’s role in establishing safety culture

SEA_Safety_Culture_web_storyboard_595x305The Joint Commission today released its latest Sentinel Event Alert on the essential role of leadership in developing a safety culture. The alert provides actions and resources to help health care organizations establish and continuously improve upon key components of safety culture year-round, as well as during this month’s National Patient Safety Awareness Week, from March 12-18.

Safety culture is the product of individual and group beliefs, values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies and patterns of behavior that determine an organization’s commitment to quality and patient safety. 

Health care leadership’s failure to create an effective safety culture is a contributing factor to many types of adverse events, such as wrong-site surgery and delays in treatment, according to a new Sentinel Event Alert issued by The Joint Commission. Insufficient support for reporting patient safety events, intimidation of staff who report events, and refusal to consistently prioritize and implement safety recommendations are some of the factors that contribute to poor safety culture, according to the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. The Sentinel Event Alert outlines 11 tenets for health care leaders to address safety culture.

“A strong safety culture begins with leadership; their behaviors and actions set the bar,” said Ana Pujols McKee, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer at The Joint Commission. “I urge all health care leaders to make safety culture a top priority at their health care organization. Establishing and improving safety culture is just as critical as the time and resources devoted to revenue and financial stability, system integration and productivity–because a lack of safety culture can have serious consequences for patients, staff and other stakeholders.”

View the Sentinel Event Alert and accompanying infographic.

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