All clinical staff should report risks


Healthcare provider organizations should expect all clinical staff to be accountable for reporting potential safety risks, according to the National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) in a recent report.

“A strong safety culture is essential for any health care organization to maintain effective quality monitoring processes and ultimately preserve the integrity of health care quality and patient safety systems,” said Susan Goodwin, immediate past president and assistant vice president, HCA in Nashville.

“Without a strong safety culture, frontline providers and management may fail to identify a concerning pattern of performance or a single event or may hesitate to report them.”

The report, called ‘Call to Action: Safeguarding the Integrity of Healthcare Quality and Safety Systems’, also suggested that any concern around safety should be taken seriously and investigated.

“Where quality or patient safety is called into question, the process by which an issue is raised is considered as important as the query itself. Not every concern about patient safety or quality of patient care will ultimately be deemed valid, but every reported concern deserves serious consideration. A culture that encourages such disclosures is critical to improved patient care,” said Goodwin.

The report also provides detailed recommendations for adopting best practices to enhance provider institution quality, improve on-going safety reporting and protect staff. NAHQ collaborated with several national healthcare professional organizations in developing the recommendations, including the American College of Physician Executives, American Health Information Management Association and the American Medical Association.   

“We are calling on US healthcare organizations to build on their achievements to ensure the integrity of quality evaluation and measurement by fostering even stronger safety cultures and processes,” said Cynthia Barnard, the NAHQ volunteer responsible for leading the work on the paper and director, quality strategies, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago.

“It is not only good medical practice but also good business, especially as accountable care organizations, which tie reimbursements to quality measures, are becoming more prevalent in the market.” 


clinical staff, National Association of Healthcare Quality (NAHQ), Call to Action