Patient safety: more than a week, it’s a culture

By Cynthia ClarkMarch 18, 2022

Munson lab conducts safety brief
Capt. Sarah Shadwick, laboratory officer in charge at Munson Army Health Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., conducts a safety huddle with her staff on Wednesday, March 16. This particular safety huddle focused on proper hand-washing techniques to achieve the ongoing goal of strengthening accountability, transparency and standardization to prevent harm, promote continuous learning and improve the quality of care and services delivered at Munson Army Health Center. (Photo Credit: Cynthia Clark) VIEW ORIGINAL

Munson Army Health Center (MAHC) is recognizing Patient Safety Week, March 13-19, in order to promote a culture of safety to end preventable patient harm. This mission is one Munson is dedicated to all year long. The Munson team is dedicated to creating the safest environment possible for our beneficiaries by continuing to build on the trusted relationship between providers and patients.

“Everyone at Munson plays a role in patient safety,” said Ashten Garcia, acting MAHC patient safety manager. “The medical service assistants get our patients safely checked in by using roper patient identifiers, the nursing staff screens patients and the housekeeping staff ensures everything is clean for the patients so they know they’re walking in to a clean and safe facility. It’s a group effort.”

Our meticulous safety measures don’t just stop after check-in, however, they continue even after the patient has left the facility.

“We have specific staff to audit patient charts, to make sure what the provider is telling the patient is accurate to what they’re charting,” Garcia continued. “They also make sure our providers are appropriately credentialed and that they’re completing their peer reviews – we hold each other accountable.”

Providing the safest care possible is definitely a two-way street at Munson. There are many things the patients themselves can do to ensure they receive safe and comprehensive care, starting with having proper identification and any records we may not have on file. Some of these records can include x-rays or discharge paperwork if for some reason the patient was seen at another facility, such as an emergency room. Other best practices include a written, or printed, list of all medications they take, and a record of any questions they’ve had since their last appointment.

“The goal is to make the most efficient use of the patient and provider’s time,” said Tim Stevens, Munson deputy to the commander for quality and safety. “Also, sometimes people, depending on what’s going on with [the patient], it’s nice to have someone with them – but try to keep it to just one person, a family member – especially if they have difficulty remembering. Having another person there is good and helps make sure these questions get answered, and to make sure they’re answered in a manner they can understand.”

Feedback from the patients is also key for a safe health-care environment, which can either be given via ICE comment or through one of our patient advocates. The staff here is dedicated to addressing any concerns or suggestions our beneficiaries may have.

“Our patient advocates have a great relationship with our department,” Garcia continued. “They bring patient’s feedback to the team and together we find a way to either fix the issue or improve it, our patient advocates are an essential part of the patient safety relationship. We always take feedback from our patients and seek to act on what they feel we need to improve on.”

Safety concerns, or anything possibly having an effect on future safe-patient care is discussed daily at Munson through the leader’s daily safety brief. Garcia also noted Munson leadership makes continuous rounds to all clinics in the facility to address any on-the-spot safety concerns and/or promote specific best safety practice and to keep providing the safest care possible.

Safety briefs don’t just stop with the leader’s daily briefings, all safety concerns and training then extends throughout the facility in various capacities. In the MAHC lab, for example, they have a large huddle every Monday and then have smaller safety briefs daily.

“We strive to give our patients the finest care, safety is the most important factor in this area,” said Capt. Sarah Shadwick, Munson laboratory officer in charge. “Without the proper safety precautions, mistakes can get made and we can’t afford to make those mistakes with our patient’s health.”

To share a safety concern, beneficiaries can contact us through our website Our Patient Advocates can be reached Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in office or by phone at (913) 684-6211/6110. For patient safety or quality concern, contact the Department of Quality & Safety at (913) 684-6703.