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Making Every Day a Safe Day at WellStar

Safety First

We believe safety doesn’t just happen – it’s the result of understanding behavior and applying knowledge to further prevent and detect errors.

To that end, WellStar has initiated a far-reaching, cutting-edge program called Safety First aimed at optimizing human performance in complex systems such as healthcare. To date:

  • Human error prevention training has been completed by our more than 11,000 team members
  • Safety training has been completed by all of our 1,800 medical staff members and allied health professionals
  • More than 300 safety coaches have been trained as co-worker mentors and peer coaches

Applying High Technology and Innovation

Our Safety First program ensures improved quality of patient care by using advanced technology and innovation to reduce the risk of errors. Specifically, WellStar has invested more than $12 million in technology advancements and safety training for our team members, including:

  • Employing patient handling equipment to prevent and reduce team member injuries due to patient transfers, repositioning and lifting
  • Developing valuable clinical experience using the first Advanced Patient Simulation Center in a non-academic health system in Georgia
  • Preventing treatment and medication errors using electronic medical records, computerized order entry, medication bar coding and Smart Pumps
  • Adopting best practices and high-reliability concepts from nuclear engineering, aviation and manufacturing industries to decrease errors and streamline processes

Healthcare Performance Improvement

Healthcare Performance Improvement

Together with our medical staff, we are bringing leading experts to the table, like Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI), a company built on improving human performance in complex systems. HPI's approach is based on best practices of high risk, high-reliability industries, such as aviation and nuclear power. WellStar is applying these approaches to decrease errors and streamline processes in the areas of safety and quality


Continually Improving Patient Care

At WellStar, safety is at the center of everything we do. Our commitment to safety and quality is demonstrated by improvements, both big and small, in processes that involve every department.

We’ve employed the following measures to support our continued improvement and adherence to safety and quality.

Safety First Program

  • Launched the Safety First Program, which marked the beginning of our journey to high-reliability healthcare. Our Safety First Program strives to make Every Day a Safe Day at WellStar.
  • Adopted safety behaviors and techniques that are proven to prevent errors and promote efficient and effective processes
  • Deployed Safety Coaches on the frontline who coach and mentor healthcare team members on the consistent use of the safety behaviors and techniques adopted by WellStar
  • Introduced Safety First Team Training, which is an evidence-based teamwork strategy to improve communication and teamwork skills for all members of the healthcare team
  • Promotes a safety culture that encourages communication of safety concerns and unsafe conditions

Best Practices include:

  • Partnering with national organizations such as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in the Perinatal Safety Collaborative, which involved the work of healthcare providers across the country to improve and ensure that safe care is provided to mothers and babies. WellStar’s participation in the Perinatal Safety Initiative resulted in improved communication, workflow and patient outcomes for women and newborn services.
  • Adopting recommendations from medication safety organizations, such as the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), to ensure that we are administering medications in the safest environment.
  • Conducting medication reconciliation, the process where patients’ home medications is reviewed upon admission to the hospital and compared to the medications ordered for the patient to take while hospitalized. The list of medications are reviewed again upon discharge to ensure that the patient is taking only the medications he/or she should be taking.
  • Rapid recognition of diagnosis and evidence-based treatment of conditions such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke and pneumonia.
  • Implementing Rapid Response Teams, a team of experts called upon to quickly assess and determine what a patient needs when their condition suddenly changes.
  • Utilizing best practice prevention techniques, including hourly rounds by staff to reduce the occurrence of falls
  • Consistent treatment and management of conditions through the use of tools such as:
    • Computerized physician order sets
    • Surgical and procedural checklists
    • Time-outs
    • Protocols