Ohio’s Fairfield Medical Center Uses AHRQ Resources to Promote Patient Safety
Staff members at the 222-bed Fairfield Medical Center in Lancaster, Ohio, said they work better in teams and feel more freedom to raise questions about patient care after participating in AHRQ's TeamSTEPPS® patient safety training program.
The training program was introduced to maternity unit staff and physicians in 2012. Positive results prompted the hospital to expand TeamSTEPPS to the rest of the facility. About 95 percent of Fairfield's 2,000 employees completed TeamSTEPPS training as of May 2015.
TeamSTEPPS, developed by AHRQ and the Department of Defense, is an evidence-based system to improve communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals to improve care and patient safety.
"The maternity unit is subject to high-risk, critical care situations," noted Mary McGee, M.S.N., R.N., and TeamSTEPPS trainer. "We found that the TeamSTEPPS communication technique of stating 'I am concerned regarding the well-being of a patient' was very useful in getting other staff members to pay close attention to a situation. It emphasizes the importance of improving patient safety."
Fairfield staff measured the impact of TeamSTEPPS training by using AHRQ's Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. The survey assesses staff perspectives on patient safety issues, medical errors, and event reporting. Survey findings among maternity staff showed strong improvements in work cohesion. Employee ratings on providing mutual support and treating each other with respect increased by 30 percent.
Furthermore, ratings increased by 5 percent about feeling empowered to speak up when observing something that might negatively impact patient care. Ratings increased by 14 percent on feeling able to question those in a position of higher authority about a patient's care.
Robert Pisano, M.B.A., a TeamSTEPPS trainer who was part of the development of the training initiative for the medical center, said support for TeamSTEPPS at the executive level was strong.
"We achieved our strategic goal of reinforcing good communication throughout the organization and continue to use many of the TeamSTEPPS training materials—in addition to our in-house videos—during the 60-day orientation program for new staff," Mr. Pisano explained.