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ASCII (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas Frank Robinson once said, "Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades." A thought not just accurate in baseball, but also captures the sentiment at the heart of Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center's commitment to patient safety that earned them Military Health System honors last quarter.

Patient safety at its core is about preventing harm, and the goal is zero preventable harm.

In December 2020, AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professions, recognized three CRDAMC process improvement teams for outstanding leadership commitment to high reliability in health care and patient-centeredness.

The teams were recognized for their ability to adapt and innovate in response to COVID-19.

"Our keys to innovation during the pandemic have been open communication, team collaboration, knowledge–sharing, and massive cross-training,” said Sonya

Woodson, chief of patient safety Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.

Woodson works to support the patient care team's focus on achieving patient safety goals.

Many patients would be amazed at the voluminous goals and the processes of maintaining accountability from pharmacy to surgery and everywhere in between at the medical center.

Patient safety is a process that involves continuous learning, standardization, and accountability to prevent harm and improve the quality of care and services delivered at the military treatment facility according to MHS patient safety.

In addition to serving nearly 3,000 patients per day, the healthcare teams at CRDAMC are committed to ensuring their success is repeatable.

Patient safety is a 24 hour a day, a seven-day-a-week mission that requires vigilance and a willingness to go from good to better to best.

CRDAMC has a robust process for evaluating patient safety and continuous improvement.

"Our teams identified areas for improvement for healthcare delivery within the organization from access to care to desirable outcomes, said Dr. Joan Ingram, deputy to the commander for quality and safety." They used numerous sources to help inform their decisions, from concerns and kudos to general observations to direct input and data.

As military treatment facilities prepare to kick off Patient Safety Week March 14, the teams were honored again by being invited to present their projects to the MHS patient safety community.

Col. Kimberly Geslak, deputy commander for inpatient services, presented "Optimizing Emergency Department Transfer Decisions in the area of leadership commitment.

Dr. Joel Miller's presented "Emergency Department Adaptations to COVID-19," an effort focused on patient-centeredness.

Later this month, Lt. Col. Garrett Meyers will present, "Highlighting Quality as a High Priority: Seizing the Opportunities of a Pandemic through Preventive Care and Vulnerable Population Outreach.

The teams were honored to receive the initial accolades, but sharing the knowledge among their peers across the DHA enterprise could mean beneficiaries throughout the MHS benefit from lessons learned and improvements that originated at CRDAMC.

"Not only has their work improved the safety, quality, and desired outcomes of the individual patients, but it has also provided a basis of knowledge of our will DHA beneficiaries to improved care throughout the DOD," said Dr. Joan Ingram, Deputy to the Commander for Quality and Safety

Most patients show up for appointments without giving a second thought to patient safety.

“We want out patients to have that extra layer of assurance that we’re not only taking care of their immediate healthcare needs, but also be confident that all the behind-the-scenes work to ensure safer, more patient centered-care is being done. We are people first and patient-centered,” Malish said.