Patient Safety Leadership WalkRounds at Partners Healthcare: learning from implementation

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2005 Aug;31(8):423-37. doi: 10.1016/s1553-7250(05)31056-7.


Background: Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) began Patient Safety Leadership WalkRounds in January 2001; its experience, along with that of three other Partner Healthcare hospitals, is reported. COLLECTING DATA ON WALKROUNDS: Data were obtained from interviews with patient safety personnel, WalkRounds scribes, and senior leaders.

Findings: A total of 233 one-hour WalkRounds during 28 months yielded 1,433 comments--30% related to equipment, 13% to communications, 7% to pharmacy, and 6% to workforce. Actions occurred quickly in small hospitals. Formal processes for managing larger issues were necessary in large organizations. Implementation feasibility featured more prominently than severity in determining actions.

Discussion: The study generated essential guidelines for success--for example, the supporting resources must include the maintenance of effective information databases that identify actions taken, and the discussions during WalkRounds are influenced by who in leadership is participating, their ability to quietly listen, and whether they have clinical or nonclinical backgrounds.

Conclusions: WalkRounds appears to be an effective tool for engaging leadership, identifying safety issues, and supporting a culture of safety.

MeSH terms

  • Hospital Administration
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Leadership*
  • Massachusetts
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Quality Control
  • Safety Management / methods*