Safety and High Reliability: A Foundation for Excellence
Gains in safety and reliability within your healthcare organization can be temporary unless you work to ensure that they become a part of your organization’s permanent, core processes. Make safety and high reliability part of your everyday culture by embedding these values throughout your organization. At the same time, understand specific actions and behaviors that can improve quality and become synonymous in your patients’ minds with the quality of care they seek and trust.
Benefits that accompany a strong culture of safety include not only a high level of patient care, but also a more engaged and competent staff, enhanced reputation, and increased financial stability. To advance your organization toward these goals, we encourage you to bookmark this page and access these resources as your organization progresses in its safety and reliability journey.
Patient safety insights, skills, and strategies
Navigate this page to learn how to reduce risk through the implementation and enhancement of quality care, patient safety, and high reliability initiatives within your healthcare organization.
Creating an organization with a strong culture of safety
Top organizational characteristics: According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ) Patient Safety Primer, these five attributes characterize highly reliable organizations:
- Preoccupation with failure as learning opportunity – Everyone in the organization is aware of and stays vigilant for potential threats. Near misses are opportunities to learn and prepare for future issues.
- Reluctance to simplify while embracing complexity – Staff members probe to understand the complexities of their work and look for deeper explanations for what is occurring, leading to discovery and improvement.
- Sensitivity to operations – Teams understand how units within the organization interconnect and how conditions in other units can affect the safety and success of their own units.
- Deference to expertise – People in the organization accept that those closest to a situation might know the most, regardless of status or hierarchy, and they feel empowered to speak up.
- Commitment to resilience – Teams accept that failures will happen and are ready for rapid assessment and response to challenging situations, working to mitigate their seriousness.
Assessing your organization: What to Look For: Collecting data about where your organization stands where safety and reliability are concerned is key to knowing where you need to improve. Here are questions to ask, as derived from guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, when beginning periodic organizational assessments:
- How do staff members do their work?
- How do you measure progress?
- How do your teams respond to events in their external and internal environments?
- What improvement initiatives does your organization need?
- Which service types and clinical areas need specific improvement initiatives?
- How can you replicate success across units and facilities?
By asking these questions, you can help identify, reduce, and mitigate existing risks in your organization. Look for areas that fall below benchmarks and address them with initiatives such as education, communication efforts, and policy revisions.
Addressing Maternal and Perinatal Safety: In 2020, the Centers for Disease Control reported the following sobering statistics:
- In the U.S., 861 women died of maternal causes, up from 754 in 2019. The 2020 maternal mortality rate was 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births compared with a rate of 20.1 in 2019.
- The increase in the maternal mortality rate was highest for non-Hispanic Black women, increasing from 44.0 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2019 to a rate of 55.3 in 2020.
- In 2019, the maternal mortality rate for Hispanic women was 12.6 deaths per 100,000 live births. This rate rose to 18.2 in 2020, a statistically significant increase.
Contributing factors to these statistics include variation in care and social determinants of health, which can both contribute to inequitable outcomes. Awareness of these factors, gained through robust diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) education for your teams and the consistent application of evidence-based quality practices, can help improve outcomes for your organization.
How mental health and social determinants are driving maternal mortality
As a national leader in maternal safety, Relias is committed to helping you understand and address the complex interplay of clinical and nonclinical factors that contribute to the health of mothers and babies, including how social determinants affect maternal health outcomes.
Frameworks for quality care and reliable teams
Helpful frameworks can provide a basis for your quality efforts and include the following:
- Analyze – Assess – Educate (Relias)
- Culture – Leadership – Learning System (Health Catalyst)
- Six Domains of Health Care Quality (AHRQ)
Education and Its impact on risk and skill development
Relias empowers high reliability organizations (HROs) by supporting their commitment to being learning organizations. With a variety of solutions, we provide support through every stage of the high reliability journey by identifying opportunities for improvement and providing measurable results. Continuing education and personalized learning help create high reliability teams that excel at delivering quality care.
Through recruiting, onboarding, assessments, compliance, and over 7,000 clinical and non-clinical learning modules, the Relias Platform is with you every step of the way.
Short on time? Get these resources first
Resources for reducing risk
Resources for keeping mothers and babies safe
How Relias Can Help
Relias helps you improve reliability and reduce variation in care by training clinicians to use an evidence-based approach to clinical problems. Understand what each clinician needs by assessing their knowledge and problem-solving to improve individual skill sets. Customized learning paths and plans for ongoing training help support clinician engagement, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
Ready to learn more about how Relias can help advance your patient safety culture and create highly reliable teams?