CREATING A PATIENT SAFETY TEAM: In May 2001 Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston) created the Patient Safety Team, which was incorporated into the pre-existing safety and quality infrastructure. ESTABLISHING THE PATIENT SAFETY TEAM'S GOALS AND INITIATIVES: The goal was to create the safest possible environment for patients and staff by creating a culture of safety, increasing the capacity to measure and evaluate processes, committing to change unsafe processes, and adopting new technologies. To achieve this mission, the following initiatives were established: create a culture of safety, increase event identification, improve event analysis, close the feedback loop, assess risk proactively, improve medication safety, and involve the patient.
Discussion: Integrating the Patient Safety Team into pre-existing committees and departments facilitated its work while helping to reinforce the multidisciplinary nature of safety efforts. It is critical that pre-existing groups feel that patient safety represents value added and is not a threat to their current roles.
Summary and conclusions: If a patient safety strategy and team are to be effective, commitment from the organization's leaders is essential. This team should also work with individual departments and pre-existing quality structures to drive changes to the systems of care to enable health care to become as safe as possible.