I am trying to eat more vegetables and go to the gym twice a week. I'm also striving to be more innovative at work and better manage my email. Plus, I am working on being more patient with my children and not worrying about little things like tidying up the house. Yet, I'm also attempting to stay on top of housekeeping tasks like sweeping the floor, so I no longer fear going barefoot in the kitchen. Also: trying to get more sleep, be a nicer person, eat less ice cream. And the list goes on, like a receipt erupting from a cash register after a shopping spree. Which reminds me — I'm trying to spend less, too.
Life, and also health care, are targets for relentless improvement. And where some of us look at all the areas needing attention and opt to lie down, others take on the whole list and really turn things around. The boards and leaders of the five hospitals profiled in our cover story, "Creating a Culture of Safety," did the latter. Each hospital took a hard look at its own patient safety data and committed to better performance in 10 areas to ultimately reduce inpatient harm by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent. They are succeeding: As part of the collective of hospitals and state associations in what's known as a Hospital Engagement Network, they have reduced readmissions by 14 percent and early elective deliveries by 42 percent in a year and a half.
These hospitals are drawing on HEN resources including other organizations' data and best practices, but they are guided and held accountable by their boards. And as you'll read, each board went about it slightly differently — some incentivizing senior leaders, some attending clinician meetings, some reorganizing their quality department — but all of them made it the centerpiece of their strategic plans. Because that's how they reach all the way to the bedside.