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Achievement Awards Spotlight: WellSpan Health

July 14, 2023

HAP's annual Achievement Awards honor hospitals and health systems for their innovation, creativity, and commitment to patient care. The Achievement Awards showcase and share member hospitals’ and health systems’ successful programs and best practices.

This year, WellSpan Health received the In Safe Hands Award for its outstanding project to implement real time problem-solving as part of its systemwide effort to decrease serious events.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Background:  WellSpan Health sought to infuse lean improvement science throughout the organization to reduce harm to patients and employees, with a focus on increasing reporting and reducing overall serious events reported to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System.
  • Taking action:  WellSpan Health’s senior leadership launched real time problem solving (RTPS), rooted in lean methodology. The RTPS approach leveraged the health system’s tiered huddle reporting process where safety issues are discussed daily, beginning with a “tier 1” huddle with frontline staff and escalating all the way to the system CEO (“tier 6”).
    • In support of RTPS and optimizing tiered huddles, 4C (concern–cause– countermeasure–check) was deployed to front line users and leaders. Insights from the 4Cs were collated in a “system-to-share” dashboard accessible by all employees.
  • Results:   The project saw immediate benefits, resulting in a 45 percent decrease in the number of serious events from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2022 and significant increase in the culture of reporting (97%).
  • Big picture:  Lean methodology is gaining traction throughout health care, as hospitals and health systems face increasingly challenging reimbursement and operational environments, the health system noted. It takes a strong organizational culture to implement these processes into your daily management system.
  • Quotable:  “Implementing real time problem solving has encouraged team members on the front lines to question the root causes of safety issues and propose sound countermeasures,” the health system noted in its entry. “These insights from front line team members form the foundation of robust quality improvement work across the enterprise which has resulted in significant and sustained progress in reducing the number of serious events in the organization.”

Congratulations to WellSpan Health for its commitment to process improvement and patient care. Additional information about this effort and the other award-winning programs is available at HAP’s website.

Questions about the HAP Achievement Awards may be directed to HAP Member Services at (717) 561-5359.