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Measuring Success

The Illinois Hospital Association’s (IHA) Institute for Innovations in Care & Quality was created to help members implement evidence-based best practice, quality, and safety innovations and to improve the care provided to patients across the state.

Marie Cleary-Fishman, IHA’s vice president of performance improvement, views the NPSF Patient Safety Immersion Initiative as a means of spreading patient safety knowledge throughout an organization— including to those at the bedside—and having a way to measure success.

“I thought it would be a good idea to enhance culture change by encouraging people to learn, study, and become certified,” says Ms. Cleary-Fishman. “This was a way of engaging people in the learning process with a measurable outcome—certification in patient safety.”

The NPSF Patient Safety Immersion Initiative offers groups a one-year membership in the American Society of Professionals in Patient Safety, access to the NPSF Patient Safety Curriculum, and the opportunity to pursue professional certification in patient safety. IHA’s Institute is taking part in this program through the Hospital Engagement Network (HEN), overseen by the Health Research & Education Trust (HRET) of the American Hospital Association.

"What the NPSF Program did was give us an indirect way to measure what was learned [in the fellowship]." 

Nationwide, the HEN program is focusing on reducing hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions. HRET and IHA’s Institute have also been emphasizing change management and improving the culture of health care organizations.

“Part of what the HEN provided was the opportunity for people to participate in a fellowship that focused on building knowledge in areas such as performance improvement and change management, eventually leading to an overall change in an organization’s culture,” says Ms. Cleary-Fishman. “What the NPSF program did was give us an indirect way to measure what was learned [in the fellowship].”

IHA’s Institute structured participation in the Patient Safety Immersion Initiative to allow 5 individuals from each of its 70 participating hospitals to enroll. “We encouraged caregivers at the bedside as well as those in patient safety and quality positions, to take part, to have a mix,” Ms. Cleary-Fishman says. “It’s not only those is quality positions that need the knowledge, but also those at the bedside who need the tools and knowledge if we are going to change the overall culture.”

With more than 30 years of experience in clinical care and performance improvement, Ms. Cleary-Fishman knows that culture change is “a top-down, bottom-up effort, often with lots of pushing and pulling from someone in the middle.” She is eager to take these efforts further, and is working with NPSF to create education for hospital leaders and board members. Her ultimate goal is “to build a whirling dervish of patient safety culture change” in Illinois.

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