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Safety Culture Project

The Safety Culture project aimed to optimize behaviors and practices resulting in an improved safety culture that reinforces and supports the prevention of patient harm. A safety culture enables trust, empowers staff to speak up about risks to patients, and to report errors and near misses, all of which drive improvement. It has been estimated that the average cost of a medical error is $11,366 resulting in approximately $17.1 billion in costs in 2008. Despite widespread attention to the importance of safety culture in performance improvement, many — if not most — health care organizations struggle to achieve it.  

Project Team

The project team utilized Robust Process Improvement® (RPI®) methods and tools in the development of its solutions. RPI is a fact-based, systematic, and data-driven problem-solving methodology. It incorporates specific tools and methods from Lean Six Sigma and change management methodologies. Using RPI the project teams then developed solutions that created and sustained a strong safety culture by addressing the complex factors that perpetuate safety failures. 

Project Team 
Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Missouri 
Froedtert Hospital, Wisconsin 
Kaiser Permanente, California 
New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York
OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Illinois 
VA Palo Alto Health Care System, California 
Wake Forest Baptist Health, North Carolina 

Safety Culture project results are scheduled for publication in 2018.

Project Outcomes

As with all of our quality initiatives, the project team will work to:

  • Identify the root causes of failures to identify, report, and respond to adverse events and unsafe conditions.
  • Find effective and targeted solutions for overcoming those failures.
  • Test and validate solutions.
  • Make lessons learned and solutions developed through the project widely available to all health care organizations.

The solutions developed as part of this project will ultimately reduce harm to patients and improve your organization’s ability to recognize and respond to unsafe conditions, and improve outcomes.

Additional Resources

The following additional resources are available for the Safety Culture project: