Are Paramedics Ignoring Hand Hygiene?

“Many paramedics ignore hand hygiene rules, study finds”

Hand HygieneA new study looked at hand hygiene practices of paramedics from Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia.  The study was featured in Health Daily News and described concerning variance in compliance of hand hygiene.  While the study didn’t look at paramedics in the United States it does it does raise the question whether hand hygiene practices would fare better in the US.

Emergency Medical Services is part of the care continuum and responds to emergency and non-emergency calls every day, therefore, creating a culture of safety that includes proper hand hygiene helps to prevent patient harm.

Read more about hand hygiene for EMS providers in this article from EMS1.com.

2018 EMS World Expo Sessions

The Center for Patient Safety will be actively participating at EMS World Expo next week.  The conference is described as “the largest EMS-dedicated event in the World”.

EMS World Expo, h­osted in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), takes place over 5 days, 2-days of Pre-Con Workshops and 3-days of Conference Sessions and Exhibits.

CPS will be exhibiting at booth 1808 where you can meet Shelby Cox and take the Patient Safety Challenge.  In addition, you can see the new e-Book “Examine Your EMS Agency’s Safety Culture to Improve Patient Outcomes”.

According to the EMS World Expo website, “Everyone’s EMS story is different, but at EMS World Expo, EMS professionals from all around the world unite to get the training they need to increase the quality of patient care. With a focus on progressive curriculum and technology, EMS World Expo provides solutions that could save a person’s life on your very next shift.”

Besides exhibiting, CPS will be leading a preconference workshop and presenting at several sessions.  Lee Varner, Director of Patient Safety said, “We are thrilled to be part of EMS World and excited to share information about how culture impacts patient safety in EMS.  We will be promoting the EMS Safety Culture Assessment and how it can help leaders find safer care.  We will also be sharing some of the preliminary data which we have been gathering from the administration the Assessment.  We hope some of the early data will inspire all leaders to measure their safety culture and take actions to improve their culture.”

You will be able to find Shelby, Lee and other members of the CPS team at the following sessions.

Register by clicking on the links below. We look forward to seeing you there!

Patient Safety Bootcamp

Monday, October 29 • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Provider Wellness and Mental Health Symposium

Tuesday, October 30 • 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Safety Officer Workshop

Thursday, November 2 • 3:50 pm – 4:10 pm

Can You Hear Me Now?

Friday, November 3 • 1:45-2:45 pm

EMS World Expo, hosted in partnership with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT), takes place over 5 days, 2-days of Pre-Con Workshops and 3-days of Conference Sessions and Exhibits.

Just Culture, It’s the Secret Sauce When It Comes to Patient Safety

 

“We don’t make mistakes here.”

That’s what the Chief of an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency told us recently when discussing patient safety. On the surface, the comment might seem confident and sincere, but it is actually a symptom of deeper cultural issues within the organization.

All too often patient safety events are never reported because of punitive cultures. That means people are fearful to report mistakes because they are worried about what might happen to them or what others might think of them.

So what about the Chief who doesn’t know about any mistakes? In some respects he’s right, if people aren’t coming forward to report anything, how can you know about it? So perhaps his statement should be “I don’t know about the mistakes here.”

One of the foundations of patient safety is having a reporting culture integrated with a learning culture to improve the quality of care. But this requires adopting a model of shared accountability or just culture, it’s the secret sauce when it comes to patient safety.

So in the future, instead of asking about mistakes, maybe we should be asking leaders about their safety culture and what it’s like?

Because when it comes to culture and patient safety, it’s up to the leadership to:

  • Set the vision
  • Build the infrastructure
  • Provide the resources

If you are leader who doesn’t know about the mistakes, take a minute and think about the silence you’re hearing because it can be deadly.

There are no quick fixes or shortcuts to improving culture, however, there are simple steps that you can start today that will offer greater safety for your patients and providers.

The Center for Patient Safety is here to help, contact us today and learn about ways to move your culture forward.

 

Contact us today!

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3 Patient Safety Takeaways from Pinnacle EMS 2018

Every year EMS leaders from across the country gather for a conference called Pinnacle.  While there are many sessions with various specific topics I generally try to leave the conference with some emerging themes or ideas.  This year was no exception as there were several key areas discussed either in the course sessions or between peers.  Likewise, I try to see how these topics intersect with patient safety and reducing preventable harm.

1. Interdisciplinary Relationships

Several sessions discussed the importance of developing stronger relationships between EMS and their local hospitals.  While many EMS organizations and hospitals typically work well together there are growing expectations for greater alignment in data sharing, patient outcomes and care coordination.

The topic of data flowing bi-directionally was discussed in several sessions as EMS would like follow information about their patients and receive outcome data.  Similarly, hospitals need specific data for their stroke, STEMI and trauma registries.  Conversation focused on breaking down silos and developing relationships so data can be shared between hospitals and EMS.

2. Transitions of Care

I had the honor of speaking at Pinnacle in a morning session about patient handoffs.  During the session I highlighted the topic of relationships between providers and their expectations during the transitions of care.  While best practices describe using a standard process in the hand off, relationships between providers is often a barrier that isn’t discussed.  Interdisciplinary training and developing a clear understanding of each other’s needs can improve hand offs so information isn’t delayed, missing or misunderstood.  Much of the presentation discussed communications as that is common causal factor for medical mistakes.

3. Hospital infections: Where do they come from?

Several leaders spoke about improving hand hygiene and the concern with contaminated equipment.  Questions were raised about hospital infections and if they might originate from the EMS setting.  While EMS has adopted steps for infection control, the potential for cross contamination is still a risk given its fast paced unpredictable environment.  For example, as a patient is moved from a house to the back of the ambulance there are many opportunities for a provider’s gloved hand to contact multiple surfaces.  Therefore, gloves should be changed more frequently especially as patients are touched and invasive procedures are performed.

These were only a few of the many enlightening sessions and conversations at Pinnacle.  If you didn’t connect with us at Pinnacle, then join us at EMS World EXPO in October at booth 1808 or the Patient Safety Boot Camp workshop.

EMS Patient Safety Coordinator, Shelby Cox

The Center for Patient Safety is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Shelby Cox to the new EMS Patient Safety Coordinator position.  Shelby brings many years of EMS experience and a strong passion for improving patient care.  Please join us in welcoming Shelby to the CPS team.

 

As a Nationally Registered Paramedic with more than 20 years invested in emergency medical services, Shelby has served in varying capacities including  ground ambulance transport, air medical services, hospital liaison, EMS education and hospital outreach management. She has a passion for helping people and has always been drawn to making a difference.  Today she is inspired to help EMS colleagues reduce preventable harm.  She describes this new role as part of an amazing journey where she can use her experience on a larger scale.

Safety Culture Assessment Tool for Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

The Center is pleased to announce the availability of a culture assessment for EMS. The psychometric analysis was selected for publication in the Journal of Patient Safety in June 2018. The final tool consists of a set of 37 questions that cover 11 patient safety culture domains, aligning closely with the pre-existing domains in the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Surveys on Patient Safety™.

Developed in conjunction with the National Registry of EMTs, the safety culture assessment is designed specifically for EMS. The survey questions were tested extensively to ensure they are relevant and appropriate. The National Registry of EMTs surveyed its registrants and received more than 32,000 responses that contributed to the psychometric testing and validation.

CPS will host an informative webinar in August to discuss culture measurement and the value of the assessment. Free registration

Additional resources about the culture assessment and the value of culture measurement:

EMS Forward

EMSFORWARD is an ongoing campaign to drive awareness, conversation and action to improve patient safety. EMSFORWARD 360 is a supplemental campaign that amplifies the voices of the leaders and staff. The campaign is based on the 360 booklet which provides a deeper understanding and guide patient safety culture. Take a minute and download your free copy today. 

CPS PSO Annual Report

The Center for Patient Safety (CPS) is certified as a federally-designated Patient Safety Organization (PSO) in compliance with provisions of the federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 (PSQIA).  PSOs support the collection, analysis, sharing and learning about what medical error occur, why and how to prevent them.

PSO participation can support a safety culture that encourages and allows healthcare providers to safety report and share information about vulnerabilities within the healthcare system, PSOs are pivotal in the crusade to prevent medical errors and patient harm.  CPS provides several culture services that complement PSO services and support the development of a robust patient safety program.

CPS is positioned to assist new and current participants in gaining this invaluable learning and obtaining the federal protections that are available with the PSQIA – but, most importantly to reduce preventable harm.

Download Report Here

CENTER FOR PATIENT SAFETY RECOGNIZES LEE COUNTY EMS

Lee County EMS is awarded the EMS Patient Safety First Award

Left to Right – Field Training Officer Fred Jackson, EMS Chief, Ben Abes, Capt. Colin Johnson (Patient Safety Team Leader), Lt. Shane Rackliffe, Roger Desjarlais, Lee County Manager

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Center for Patient Safety is pleased to recognize Lee County EMS, which hosted the first EMS Patient Safety Boot Camp in March 2017, as the first recipient of the Center for Patient Safety’s EMS Patient Safety First Award. The award will be presented as part of EMS Week, May 20-26.

CPS Executive Director Alex Christgen said the award captures an organization’s “commitment and spirit to improve their safety culture and dedication for taking proactive steps in advancing the safety of their patients.”

She said Lee County EMS has taken numerous steps in this direction with several innovative approaches, including the development of a strategy and plan with specialized staff training and committee development, and as internal champions for patient safety.

Lee Varner, director of patient safety at CPS, noted, “EMS is a high-consequence industry and it requires an organization’s leadership to be actively involved in the development of a culture that is proactive and not reactive when it comes to safety.”

Varner said Lee County EMS uses methods learned in other high-risk environments, such as aviation and nuclear power, to address numerous risks in its daily work.

EMS Week

The Center for Patient Safety would like to recognize all EMS professionals during EMS Week. We thank you for your committed service to others and the difference you make every day.

BLOG:

Are Paramedics Ignoring Hand Hygiene?:

“Many paramedics ignore hand hygiene rules, study finds” A new study looked at hand hygiene practices of paramedics from Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia.  The study was featured in Health Daily

2018 EMS World Expo Sessions:

The Center for Patient Safety will be actively participating at EMS World Expo next week.  The conference is described as “the largest EMS-dedicated event in the World”. EMS World Expo, h­osted in pa

Just Culture, It’s the Secret Sauce When It Comes to Patient Safety:

  “We don’t make mistakes here.” That’s what the Chief of an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency told us recently when discussing patient safety. On the surface, the comment might seem con

Read More

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The Center for Patient Safety believes that collaboration and sharing are the best ways to drive improvement. We strive to provide the right solutions and resources to improve healthcare safety and quality.