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Taking industry-wide action in patient and workforce safety

This past fall, the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety released a National Action Plan (NAP) to guide healthcare organizations in eliminating preventable medical harm. The report, which outlines effective, evidence-based best practices for advancing patient and workforce safety, is the first plan created through collaboration and coordination of over 25 leading national patient safety groups, making it a critical resource for any healthcare organization on the journey to zero harm.  

To get you started on your journey, I will discuss six of the NAP’s recommendations and a few ways you can implement and sustain them with Press Ganey’s comprehensive Safety and High Reliability solutions.  

#1: Ensure safety is a demonstrated core value

When the NAP describes safety as a demonstrated core value, it implies that safety is not just written in an organization’s mission, vision, and values statement, but that every member of the workforce commits to it each day. Leadership’s dedication to zero harm must start in word, and follow in deed. Press Ganey helps leaders fulfill both ends of this goal.  

When you sign up for Safety 2025: Accelerate to Zero, you are pledging safety as a core value and cultivating a culture of transparency. Membership gives your organization complimentary access to exclusive educational resources, data services, and networking forums, and includes complimentary membership to HPI Press Ganey PSO, where you can confidentially share personal safety moments and apply learnings from members tackling similar challenges. Membership to the PSO continues to grow with 69 health systems, 1.8 million events in the database, and more than 400 continuing education hours provided this year. 

Our strategic consultants can then help you kick-start a focus on zero harm with HRO leader training programs and other tools to drive board and executive engagement. With these learnings, leaders will feel confident as they mentor the workforce on how to champion safety at all roles and levels. Our safety experts also specialize in safety culture measurement and improvement, so you can track the impacts of these programs and tools, and course correct as needed.  

#2: Assess capabilities and commit resources to advance safety

To attain safe outcomes, you must understand your personal and organizational capabilities and then commit resources effectively. Press Ganey’s Strategic Consulting team has the tools and expertise to gauge your organization’s readiness for safety transformation. They help you pinpoint gaps and areas for improvement across domains so you can prioritize work, allocate resources efficiently, and prevent future safety events. Our safety and HRO experts also work to ensure that all staff are equipped with core competencies and behaviors in high reliability organizing, such as universal relationship skills and universal reliability skills. With their help, more than 1,100 healthcare organizations were able to improve their patient and workforce safety, directly reducing serious safety events by 80% or more.  

#7: Include patients, families, and care partners in leadership, governance, and safety and improvement efforts

Patients, families, and care partners (such as home health aides, friends, and guardians), are full members of the healthcare team. Working with them to co-design care leads to better patient outcomes for all aspects of care, at all levels. When it comes to safety improvement, the NAP suggests that you include patients and families on quality and safety committees, conduct routine interviews with them after harm occurs, and urge leaders to systematically include family perspectives and patient experience data in board discussions and planning work.  

Cause analysis Grand Rounds, complimentary to any Press Ganey PSO member, promote patient and family engagement by embracing an HRO-based approach to cause analysis. These monthly learning forums led by HPI Press Ganey experts include patients and family members in a deep dive into specific cause analysis topics and ways to identify root causes of harm events. Onsite or virtually, our Strategic Consulting team can train leaders in high reliability rounding to engage patients, families, and care partners in the co-design of safe, highly reliable care. They also help you incorporate feedback from focus groups and patient and family advisory councils into survey design.  

#10: Implement a systems approach to workforce safety

Workforce safety is a precondition to patient safety. A total systems approach to safety necessitates “a shift from reactive, piecemeal interventions to a proactive strategy in which risks are anticipated and system-wide safety processes are established and applied across the entire healthcare continuum” (NAP 11). 

A daily management tool is an integral component of any high reliability organization. The workforce safety module in Press Ganey’s High Reliability Platform™ (HRP) is outfitted with forms, workflows, alerts, and analysis that help you measure and sustain improvements, identify causes of workforce safety events, and take action to prevent recurrence. The platform centralizes information across departments and teams, so you can report and analyze safety data at every care point and work toward total systems safety.  

>> Related Read: 4 fundamentals to transform safety culture [e-book] 

The workforce safety experts on our strategic consulting team help you protect every single employee from harm. They assist in the development of a comprehensive approach to safety that assesses your culture, establishes key harm measures, drives adoption through hands-on training, and reinforces organizational learning to sustain performance.

#12: Develop, resource, and execute on priority programs that equitably foster workforce safety

Organizations striving to advance the NAP take steps to eliminate inequities in healthcare for all patients, families, and workforce. Signing up for Press Ganey’s Equity Partnership gives you free access to new survey questions, data segmentation capabilities, standard data formats and equity data diagnostics, and learning forums to advance this goal. The partnership asks that you respond to data, participate in learning forums, and address equity gaps in healthcare with your leadership. In return, they will collaborate with you to identify gaps, formulate strategies to improve, and ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion data are routinely captured in the most valid and reliable ways for all patients and caregivers. 

#13: Facilitate both intr- and interorganizational learning

When harm occurs, appropriate systems, data, and feedback loops need to be put in place to promote local and system-wide learning from the safety event. The Press Ganey HRP has robust feedback loops and On-Demand Learning modules that engage your entire workforce. Additionally, Press Ganey’s Strategic Consultants specialize in training leaders on HRO skills for ensuring physical and psychological safety among the workforce, as well as maintaining a healthy work environment, and universal reliability skills that drive safety and foster joy among employees. They also help you prevent safety events by proactively analyzing safety success stories and near misses.

Members of Press Ganey’s Safety 2025 and PSO get access to additional resources to facilitate intra- and interorganizational learning, such as our High Reliability Learning Series and our Safety Event Classification® and Serious Safety Event Rate® Safety Measurement System eLearning Program.  

Failure to coordinate patient safety work leads to slow and restricted advancement, duplicative efforts, and wasted resources, at best. At worst, it endangers patients, families, and your workforce. For a deeper dive into how Press Ganey solutions align with every tenet of the NAP and can help you coordinate patient safety work at your organization, review our interactive module, “Utilizing Press Ganey Expertise & Solutions to Implement the National Action Plan to Advance Safety.”  

Ready to take action? Schedule a demo with a Press Ganey expert.


About the author

As Chief Safety and Transformation Officer, Dr. Gandhi, MPH, CPPS is responsible for improving patient and workforce safety, and developing innovative healthcare transformation strategies. She leads the Zero Harm movement and helps healthcare organizations recognize inequity as a type of harm for both patients and the workforce. Dr. Gandhi also leads the Press Ganey Equity Partnership, a collaborative initiative dedicated to addressing healthcare disparities and the impact of racial inequities on patients and caregivers. Before joining Press Ganey, Dr. Gandhi served as Chief Clinical and Safety Officer at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), where she led IHI programs focused on improving patient and workforce safety.

Profile Photo of Dr. Tejal Gandhi, MPH, CPPS