Sunday’s Post-Standard included a story about an event that happened at St. Joseph's in 2009. We agreed not to discuss the details of the event at the family's request. We have spoken to the family throughout this experience and share their grief which has already been so deep given circumstances outside of St. Joseph’s involvement. Our thoughts are first and foremost with them.
Each and every life entrusted to a health care professional includes enormous responsibility. And while things are never as simple as one newspaper article might make them seem, what is most important is for each of us to realize is how fragile life is and to treat every person with the utmost of compassion and diligence of care. As with many things in life, what we do next is the most important thing.
St. Joseph’s provides compassionate care to more than 2,000 people every day throughout our system. Anytime something doesn’t go right, we take it extremely seriously. In this case, we have made personnel and policy changes and re-examined everything we do related to quality.
Every step of the way, we strive to improve the care we provide; taking time outs (which means a step back to ascertain the situation) to carefully examine employee concerns, and thoroughly reviewing mistakes when they do happen. Root cause analysis helps teams to learn how to hardwire policies and procedures to prevent untoward events from occurring.
Many things have changed over the last four years since this situation occurred. Our commitment to quality has included work with a nationally recognized Quality Institute to help us redesign our approach to patient care. We’ve reexamined every aspect of our quality process and added every tool recommended and utilized by the highest performing hospitals. We now provide quality education at every management meeting, and have set up a process to report not just errors – but near misses – so we can identify and fix problems before they occur.
In addition, we’ve implemented mandatory training for all staff in the promotion of a Just Culture – an objective approach to accountability which places the patient at the center and looks at systems, not just individual actions, to be sure we are doing all we can for patient safety and care.
We never want patients to be fearful of their healthcare experience. They need to know how deeply our employees feel when we do make a mistake and how open and honest we are with ourselves in making sure it doesn't happen again.
Do we have more to do? Absolutely. Every patient, every encounter, every day offers a chance for us to do better.
We will remain steadfast in that commitment.