Everett Clinic sharpens focus on safety, quality

EVERETT — The Everett Clinic is increasing expectations for quality and safety.

A motion by The Everett Clinic’s Board of Directors holds itself and the clinic accountable for the highest standards of quality and patient safety.

“The Everett Clinic is a clinic that really has strived for continuous improvement for many, many years,” said Harold Dash, president of The Everett Clinic board of directors and a practicing cardiologist. “This is an ongoing process. As an organization, we are constantly trying to get better.”

The push for a motion around quality and patient safety began during a strategic retreat weeks before June 20, when the unanimous vote took place, Dash said. The board in the motion directed management to develop a three-year plan.

“We really thought we needed to put more focus on quality and safety,” Dash said. “We added in the resolution to ask management to develop a three-year plan to achieve the aims of highest quality and safety and move to become a highly reliable organization.”

Such organizations are involved in processes that are complex and where accidents may easily occur but have systems in place that make accidents less likely, Dash said. The board expects to receive recommendations from a quality and safety committee before Dec. 31 on how to move forward, he added.

The clinic in the past has made strides to improve quality and safety by instituting checklists to ensure everything is correctly set up in operating rooms and by creating a safe reporting system for individuals to report possible safety problems. The clinic has also installed touch-less hand gel dispensers in patient care areas to help ensure sanitizer is available, and it is continually developing and implementing standard processes of care to reduce risks of infections from surgical procedures.

The clinic’s surgery department in June held an all-staff and provider Patient Safety Day. Erica Peavy, medical director of the Everett Clinic, called it “one of the most memorable all department events” she has participated in.

“There was a lot of discussion about enhancing communication in a way that inspires and enables people to identify where risks exists,” she said.

Peavy added that she expects a fairly comprehensive set of recommendations to eventually be put in front of the board for approval.

“Our board is very careful and very analytical and I’m sure they’ll have a lot of questions for our team about what they’re proposing,” she said. “It’s very near and dear to my heart as the medical director of The Everett Clinic to see any and all efforts to improve the care and quality we deliver.”

“Quality of care here is really fabulous,” he said. “I’m proud to work here and the fact that the board is putting a stake in the ground about quality is an example of just wanting to get better.”

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