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New Adventist Health System Study Shows Connection Between All-Cause Harm Measure and Hospital Safety Performance

The study examined performance as it relates to safety culture, employee engagement and patient experience.

3/9/2018  |  By Mario Roberts

Understanding, detecting and preventing harm in the patient care setting continues to be a focus for health care providers across the country. Now, a new study by Adventist Health System, published in the Journal of Patient Safety, shows that there is a strong relationship between all-cause harm and key performance measures, indicating that when there is a positive patient safety culture, more engaged employees, and a more satisfying patient experience, there may be fewer instances of all-cause harm.

“Health care providers have been working on ways to measure harm and the factors that contribute to occurrences of harm in the patient care setting, and this study provides a glimpse into that relationship,” said Christine Sammer, DrPH, RN, director of corporate patient safety for Adventist Health System’s Office of Clinical Effectiveness and lead author of the study. “Patients expect to receive the safest, most reliable care possible, and to ensure that they do, it is important to understand the mitigating factors that impact care delivery and overall patient experience.”

The study, “Examining the Relationship of an All-Cause Harm Patient Safety Measure and Critical Performance Measures at the Frontline of Care,” examined the connection between an all-cause harm measure and three performance areas: safety culture, employee engagement and patient experience. The performance areas were evaluated on eight inpatient care units at one hospital over seven months.

In addition to Sammer, other Adventist Health System contributing authors for the study include Loran Hauck, MD, strategic advisor for the clinical care transformation; Cason Jones, MLS, MHA, director of corporate information services; and Julie Zaiback-Aldinger, MPH, director of public policy and community benefit.

These latest findings follow a 2017 study by Adventist Health System, published in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, that showed how more efficient harm detection with an automated system helped improve patient safety. Over the course of 11 months, the automated system identified far more instances of harm than a manual review process did over a similar time period, providing a broader scope of harm and fostering a deeper understanding of patient safety vulnerabilities.

The Pascal Metrics, Inc. Patient Safety Organization, a leader in measuring and improving patient safety through advanced analytics, collaborated with the Adventist Health System Patient Safety Organization on both studies.

Over the last six years, the Adventist Health System Office of Clinical Effectiveness has contributed six significant studies, some of which have been published in leading health care publications such as the Journal of Patient Safety, Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, Nursing Management and Endocrine Practice.