At Baystate Health, the Patients First Initiative is accomplished through applying the five PatientCareLink principles:
1. Healthcare quality and patient safety - Ensure that quality and safety topics are high-priority, visible efforts of hospital leadership; integrate proven patient safety strategies into hospital processes of care; monitor and report progress on efforts to improve quality of care and patient safety; and measure improvement over time on specific endeavors.
2. Provide staffing that meets patient needs - Make staffing plans available to patients and the public. This annual plan describes staffing in each hospital’s clinical units (medical-surgical, critical care and emergency department) by shift. The annual plan describes the factors that nurse leaders must consider in determining how to care for each patient and provides information on care provided on an "hours per patient day" basis.
3. Make hospital data and performance measures transparent and publicly available via PCL web site - Hospitals have committed to a common framework of measurement and reporting that is based on the national Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA), which includes a patient experience survey. Hospitals have begun publicly reporting as many as seven of the same nursing-sensitive, evidence-based measures selected from the National Quality Forum (NQF) and focusing on outreach to educate the public about what hospitals are doing to ensure and improve safe care. Other work will include forging partnerships among hospitals and with leaders of business, government, consumer groups, and others to promote access to high-quality, safe care for all. Such efforts include expanding health insurance coverage, sustaining the capacity of the healthcare system to deliver care, and identifying ways to assist providers of care to obtain and deploy new technologies to advance patient safety.
4. Workforce development - Creating hospital-based initiatives and strategic partnerships to address the chronic problem of shortages of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Efforts include in-house education programs, innovative "career ladders," mentoring and preceptor opportunities, joint funding of nurse faculty positions in educational institutions, expanding clinical training sites, and supporting government-based initiatives to develop and maintain a solid corps of dedicated healthcare care professionals. Other in-house endeavors include supporting the Nursing Compact and supporting supply-side legislation such as scholarships, loan forgiveness, and incentives for primary care.
5. Promote a safe, respectful and supportive working environment - Undertaking externally recognized programs that support performance excellence, such as LEAN and Six Sigma, the American Nurses Credentialing Center "Magnet" hospital designation, and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program, and/or adopt the principles that support such programs and supporting legislation to protect all hospital and other provider employees from workplace violence. Work with other healthcare leaders to study the effects of fatigue on human performance in healthcare settings and identifying strategies to address the issue; monitor progress of efforts to improve the work environment. Examples of such “practice environment assessments” include surveying caregivers and measuring improvement over time on specific employee satisfaction endeavors. They also include feasible alternatives to mandatory overtime and identification of ways to manage patient care without its use.
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