A leadership initiative to improve communication and enhance safety

Am J Med Qual. May-Jun 2011;26(3):206-11. doi: 10.1177/1062860610387410. Epub 2011 Jan 11.


The EMPOWER project was a collaborative effort to promote a culture of patient safety at Danbury Hospital through an interdisciplinary leadership-driven communication program. The "EMPOWER" component includes Educating and Mentoring Paraprofessionals On Ways to Enhance Reporting of changes in patient status. Specifically, the EMPOWER program was designed to prepare paraprofessional staff (PPS) to communicate changes in patient status using SBAR (situation, background, assessment, recommendations) structured communication. The specific project goals included (a) translation of SBAR structured communication methods for use with PPS, (b) reduction of cultural and educational barriers to interdisciplinary communication, and (c) examination of the effect of the EMPOWER intervention on the PPS communication practices and perceptions of the patient safety culture. Results of the project indicate a change in the use of SBAR throughout the institution, with particular improvement in communication from PPS to professional staff.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control
  • Organizational Culture
  • Primary Health Care
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*