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February 2017
Dear Colleagues,
With Patient Safety Awareness Week right around the corner, this issue of The Clarity Post offers a variety of perspectives on patient safety and highlights the importance of keeping the patient at the center of everything we do every day of the year.
We often think of patient safety in its physical form, but we need to remember it also touches our emotions. While managing this highly complex and technology-based industry, sometimes we forget that our patients can feel vulnerable and afraid and need more than physical care. In order to protect our patients emotionally and physically, it is paramount that we find new ways to pay attention to their emotions as we administer our tests and medical processes.
Care management requires a broad approach, and as such, Clarity Group believes in the confluence of perspectives and data from Risk Management, Quality Management and Patient Safety. We have built RQS Consulting Services around this idea to help providers draw on the intelligence of all three of these areas and to create a laser focus on prevention and safety. We look forward to hearing from you on how this approach can be beneficial to your organization.
Please enjoy our latest edition of The Clarity Post!  We hope it provides you with insights and information to create a continuous dialogue around patient safety and healthcare quality at every level!
Anna Marie Hajek
President & CEO
Clarity Group, Inc.

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Perfecting Palliative Care
Many hospitals have a palliative care program, but is it as good as it could be? In a recent article from HealthLeaders Media, we learn five key ways healthcare providers can transform palliative care in their hospital systems. The author suggests clearly defining what the program means to your organization and developing standard screening tools. He also discusses the need for midcareer staff training since palliative care is a new specialty and there are not enough professionals in this area.

For more details and the rest of the list, read the article "Perfecting Palliative Care."

Screening Tools for Suicide Prevention
As healthcare turns its focus to behavioral health, it is important that we shed some light on suicide prevention. The rate of suicide is on the rise in America, making it the 10th leading cause of death. Most of the individuals who die by suicide receive some sort of healthcare service in the year prior to death, leading many providers to look at the effectiveness of their suicide prevention programs.

Screening Tool. Checklist.jpgA recent article from Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare, details how one healthcare provider became the first in the nation to develop a universal suicide screening program in all its departments. The provider Parkland Health and Hospital System has made significant progress in suicide prevention, and the article offers valuable information on what the organization did to achieve that goal.

For additional resources on suicide prevention, check out the Joint Commission's Sentinel Event Alert "Detecting and treating suicide ideation in all settings."

IHI White Paper: A Framework for Safe, Reliable, and Effective Care
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recently released a white paper that brings together all of the strategic, clinical and operational concepts needed to achieve safe, reliable and effective care. The white paper describes a framework that is made up of two foundational domains, culture and the learning system, and nine interrelated components - leadership, accountability, transparency, etc.

This tool, which is available on IHI's website, can be used as a road map to help you continuously and reliably improve patient safety at your organization or assess how well you are currently managing the various areas described. 

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Storytelling Helps Patients Through Difficult Times 
Talking_Bubbles.pngPatients who enter the hospital for extended stays are often hit with thoughts of uncertainty or fear. To help ease the minds of these patients, a hospital in Colorado established a program called Storycatcher. In the program, select patients tell their stories to volunteers who then take those interviews and turn them into mini memoirs or poems. The program has worked well for the patients by allowing them to express their emotions and is something all healthcare providers should consider implementing. 

To learn more, read Hospitals & Health Network's article "Hospital Gives Patients a Voice."

Practicing Respect and Preventing Emotional Harm
We've all done it before, rushed a conversation, cut someone off short or been plain rude. But what if it was with a patient? This type of encounter might cause emotional harm to a patient and result in a number of consequences, such as a lack of trust or withdrawal from treatment. In a broadcast sponsored by IHI, one major health system shares what it has learned from tracking and labeling these situations and what they are doing to address them.

Listen to the IHI broadcast "Practicing Respect and Preventing Emotional Harm" for strategies you can use at your organization.

Celebrate Patient Safety Awareness Week
Mark your calendars - Patient Safety Awareness Week is March 12-18. This week kicks off the National Patient Safety Foundation's United for Patient Safety campaign, a yearlong effort to highlight patient safety issues, start important dialogue between healthcare professionals and the general public, and drive action for reduced harm. Learn more about the campaign and prepare for the week with these links:

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The Importance of Managing Data
In healthcare today, you can't go a day without hearing about data. It can answer a lot of pressing questions regarding your organization's costs and quality of care. The problem, though, is that good data is often difficult to come by, and many providers don't manage it as well as they do their other assets like people, equipment and physical locations.

So what can you do? Hospitals & Health Network's article "A Blueprint for Hospitals to Manage Their Valuable Data" discusses the importance of data and provides several data management steps you can take to thrive in this rapidly changing industry.

The Rise of HIPAA Breaches
Locked_Computer.pngWe all thought 2015 was the year of healthcare data breaches, but an infographic from Kays Harbor Technologies tells us otherwise. The company points out that in 2016, there were a total of 326 breaches reported to the OCR, a 20% increase from 2015. We also learn that the three biggest reasons behind the breaches were theft, unauthorized access and hacking/IT incidents - again.

These numbers are valuable because they can help providers identify the areas they need to focus their resources and security efforts on. For more data and tips to minimize your risk for HIPAA breaches, view the infographic.

Also, read the article "What Should Entities Expect for Healthcare in 2017" for other things to consider as you develop or change your data security plans. 


Risk-Quality-Safety Consulting Services
Have you recently implemented a telemedicine program? Have you considered all of the risks? What about ambulatory safety? Are you a hospital with growing outpatient services? As you undertake a new service or are trying to manage a current service more effectively, Clarity's Risk, Quality and Safety (RQS) Consultants can help you identify and implement a strategy that best fits your needs. Our consultants will put a fresh set of eyes and ears on your organization, uncover potential pitfalls, and develop the right programs and initiatives for education and process improvement. 

Our focus has always been on risk, quality and safety, and we believe that you must be proactive in your efforts to minimize risk and improve patient safety. Start with a call to our consultants who can walk you through our diagnostic process and work with you to articulate the parameters of the project you desire. 

RQS Insider - Medication Reconciliation
Medication errors are among the most common medical errors resulting in harm to at least 1.5 million people each year. While we normally associate hospitals with medication errors, we have to remember they are also prevalent in ambulatory settings. One way healthcare providers in ambulatory settings can avert medication errors is by developing a strong medication reconciliation process.

In this issue of the RQS Insider, we explore medication reconciliation and offer some tips on how to execute and develop a thorough medication reconciliation process in the ambulatory setting.

Download the RQS Insider bulletin "Medication Reconciliation in the Ambulatory Setting."

Tackling High-Alert Medications and the Potential for Error
Pills-2.pngBarbara Brannan, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland Medical Center, recently teamed up with Clarity Group to discuss high-alert medications and the steps organizations can take to improve their medication safety practices. During the webinar, Dr. Brannan focuses on the error pathways associated with heparin, vancomycin and insulin and offers recommendations on how to address the error pathways and reduce the potential for patient harm.

Download a set of the slides.

Visit Clarity Group at:

NHPCO's Management & Leadership Conference
May 1-3, 2017

Washington DC
The 19th Annual NPSF Patient Safety Congress
May 17-19, 2017

Orlando, FL

Clarity Group, Inc.  ♦  773-864-8280  ♦  ♦