Skip to content Skip to main navigation Skip to footer

What Can Healthcare Leaders do to Make Patients Safer?

by Earnest Davis, Jr., FACHE, 2017 CHEF President

In 2014, my family had the misfortune of experiencing a fire at our home in Indiana.? Everyone got out unscathed, the good men and women of the fire department responded swiftly, and the wisdom of all those insurance payments was made Edavisclear to me.? What stands out the most from that experience was a quote from one of my good friends, a firefighter in Cincinnati: ?There?s two kinds of people, those who have experienced a fire, and those that will.?? That one-liner immediately put the incident in perspective for us and allowed me to make some changes around the house so that this would be our only time dealing with this unfortunate circumstance.

I?ve heard other quotes that had the same resonance for me in my professional life.? Sensible, quippy sayings that are as wise as they are inspirational all in one succinct package.? I?ve always loved Don Berwick?s quote regarding process improvement in healthcare: ?More is not a number and soon is not a time.? We owe it to our patients to do more than better, but to doggedly reach for best in our community, benchmark peer groups, and when measured against best-in-class entities nationally.? Best has a value, and that value should be our end goal for the sake of our communities? health status.

At the 2017 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, Dr. James P. Bagian peaked my interest with a couple of quotes during his talk ?What Healthcare Leaders Can Do to Make Patients Safer? as part of the Bachmeyer Address and Luncheon.? In regard to caring for our patients: ?We are often enslaved to eminence based medicine, not evidence based medicine.?? Dr. Bagian explained that, as a pilot and astronaut, there was no leniency in the completion of checklists and following standard protocols for flights.? As administrators, it is our responsibility to balance the artistic and entrepreneurial nature of physicians with the proven quality of care inherent to evidence based practice.

Coincidentally, Dr. Bagian presented another quote during the Bachmeyer address regarding continuous quality improvement at healthcare organizations: ?There are two types of organizations that have experienced a sentinel event; those that have and those that will?.? From the dull roar of conformational groans and affirmative nods of the head, I assume that the administrators in the room understood our need to rally behind this cause.? In short, put your vocation to care for people in the proper perspective, and attend to your house to limit your chances of ever having to deal with a patient injury again. Truer words have yet to be spoken, by a firefighter or a physician/engineer/pilot/astronaut.

CHEF is here to help. We offer education programs that demonstrate best practices in catalyzing an environment of zero-harm.? Through education on facilitating high-quality care and collaborations with clinical excellence recognition organizations like ILPEx and Baldrige, CHEF is committed to providing you ongoing resources to blaze your path to best-in-class quality care.

Back to top