At UMHS, we believe that quality and safety go hand-in-hand with advanced patient care. As one of the nation's leading health care institutions, we have committed to delivering the best and safest health care available anywhere. In short, we want to be the safest health system in America.
The environment for delivering health care is highly complex. Patients are seen by physicians, nurses and other caregivers, are given a variety of medications, are connected to medical devices that monitor and support the function of various body systems, and undergo diagnostic and surgical procedures. According to one study, a patient in an intensive care unit undergoes an average of 178 different activities each day that rely on the interaction of monitoring, treatment and support systems. Even the routine process of prescribing and delivering medications involves several interdependent steps: ordering, dispensing, delivering, and administering.
This complexity increases the risk of "complications" or "adverse events" which may cause harm. However, it is important to note that not all adverse events are the result of a medical error. Some outcomes cannot be prevented because medical science has simply not progressed far enough . For example, giving a patient a medication to which he or she is known to be allergic is a medical error. By contrast, giving a patient a medication that is necessary to treat his or her condition, but that produces an unexpected side effect, is an adverse event. But it is not the result of an error. Our goal is to eliminate all errors and avoid as many adverse events as we can.
Patient safety has been defined by the Institute of Medicine as "the prevention of harm to patients." Today, hospitals and health care providers study and use methods to prevent harm, in an effort to build a culture of safety that both prevents errors and learns from the unanticipated events that do occur.
In this section, we present information about our patient safety practices that are intended to reduce the occurrence of adverse events. We also present information about our safety culture - how care givers feel about the safety of the care they deliver, and how they feel about the hospital’s response to safety problems that are identified.