By LRMC Public AffairsOctober 31, 2018
LANDSTUHL, Germany -- Every morning, leaders from more than 60 clinical and non-clinical areas of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center meet to share information regarding the safety of patients and staff, all for the sake of preventing harm. On Oct. 17, LRMC held its 365th consecutive daily safety briefing indicative of a full calendar year of a hospital-wide initiative to improve safety measures.
As of Oct. 1, this daily huddle, to include weekends and holidays, is now a requirement for all military treatment facilities in the U.S. Army Medical Command.
In less than 10 minutes, all hospital sections report on their overall mission-ready status in roll call fashion during the daily safety briefing. Representatives will call out either red, amber or green, standard Army terminology that denotes a state of non-compliance, movement toward compliance or compliance, respectively.
During the roll call, representatives focus on challenges with regard to staffing, equipment or supplies as well as report on any past or future safety concerns. The hospital leadership ensure that all staff involved in the daily safety briefing can present areas of concern without fear of retribution.
"We have molded our process after best practices used at the most prestigious hospitals in the United States," said Army Col. Karen Smith, LRMC's deputy commander for quality and safety and the champion for the daily safety briefing. "These highly reliable organizations elevate the safety of patients and staff as the central goal, above all else."
One example of the benefit of the daily safety briefing occurred when the Sterile Processing Department informed the larger group that their scope processor was not functional and they were awaiting equipment maintenance. The team was still able to continue their mission because the representatives of the Gastrointestinal Clinic indicated that they had a working scope processor that could be loaned.
In a recent survey to staff administered by the hospital's Quality and Safety Division, more than 70 percent of participants felt that the daily safety briefing improved the culture of safety at LRMC.
"From the staff's perspective, benefits of the [daily safety briefing] include not only its usefulness in disseminating and sharing of safety information, but it also allows us to identify potential issues before they become trends," said Smith.
The daily focus on safety has enabled the LRMC staff to lean toward a proactive posture -- rather than reactive -- which has allowed the hospital to identify second and third order effects to staff and patient care. LRMC's role as a critical care facility for ill, injured or wounded warriors dictates that the hospital always remain ready to treat casualties; any issues related to the care of a deployed service member, to include patient transport, logistics, supply, and staffing are identified early through the daily safety brief and addressed promptly.
The key to the daily safety briefing success lies within the collaboration and relationships fostered throughout the process, both between clinics and departments and with individual staff members themselves.
According to one survey participant, "The [daily safety briefing] allows staff to know one another, to communicate and resolve issues quickly. The huddles have reduced frustration and yielded results."
The LRMC daily safety briefing is held every morning at 7:40 a.m. upstairs from the Four Corners information desk in the main LRMC building and is open to all LRMC staff and patients.