Committed to Providing a Safe Environment
Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin are committed to providing a safe environment for all of our patients. Many programs are in place to ensure that your visit, whether as an inpatient or outpatient, is as safe as possible. These programs are described below.
This site also includes links to other resources and information on steps patients and their families can take to enhance their safety at Froedtert & The Medical College.
Patient Safety ProgramsThe following are programs in place at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin:
Patient Safety Steering CommitteeThe Froedtert Hospital Patient Safety Steering Committee was created to enhance and promote patient safety. The committee identifies ways to improve patient safety throughout the hospital, and promotes awareness of patient safety issues within the hospital for patients, visitors, staff and the community.
Patient IdentificationAll patients will receive an identification (ID) band to ensure accurate identification during their hospital stay. Staff members ask each patient his or her name and birth date, or check the patient’s ID band at the following times:
- Before medications are given
- Before blood is given
- Before a procedure, treatment or test is performed
- Before the patient is transported within the hospital
All outpatients who will have an invasive procedure or an IV medication, or who will receive blood, should also wear an ID band and have their name and birth date verified.
Information about the patient identification program, called “We Verify,” is available in all patient rooms, and hospital staff members remind patients to request that their ID bands be checked during their stay.
Electronic Medical Records Epic, an electronic medical record system, is in various stages of implementation at Froedtert & Community Health and The Medical College of Wisconsin. The Epic system will electronically link hospitals and clinics, enhancing patient care through improved communications and information-sharing among patient care providers. Patient privacy and the security of health information is a vital part of the system.
Many outpatient clinics are now using Epic, and Epic will be installed in the remaining clinics in the next few years.
The Froedtert inpatient hospital Pharmacy has used Epic since 2004, and nurses are using the system for medication documentation. The Radiology Department is using Epic, and the Emergency Department will begin using Epic in late 2006. Planning and implementation of the Epic electronic medical record on inpatient units will take a few years to complete.
Electronic Medication Record — The Epic Pharmacy system works with the Epic system to maintain records of all medications inpatients receive. Nurses always have up-to-date information about each patient’s medications.
Many patient safety features are built into the Epic Pharmacy system:
- Eliminates unacceptable medication abbreviations
- Uses capital letters for the names of sound-alike drugs to prevent order entry errors
- Provides a report of what, when and how much medication a patient has received
- Notifies staff of possible drug allergies and interactions
- Enables nurses and pharmacists to communicate easily and quickly
- Helps pharmacists manage all aspects of the medication process
100,000 Lives CampaignFroedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin were among more than 3,000 hospitals in the United States that joined the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) 100,000 Lives Campaign, started in December 2004. The 100,000 Lives Campaign, which ran for 18 months, was a project to engage U.S. hospitals in a commitment to make changes in care proven to improve patient care and prevent avoidable deaths. To help hospitals reach this goal, the IHI outlined six areas for hospitals to focus on.
Froedtert & The Medical College participated in the campaign as part of our continuous efforts to improve patient safety. Care teams addressed the following issues:
- Reduce the number of infections related to the use of catheters placed in blood vessels.
- Improve care for patients with heart attack — by following specific guidelines, from giving certain drugs to counseling patients on quitting smoking, this process is designed to improve outcomes for heart attack patients. (Froedtert’s quality report for heart attack care is available on the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality Web site: www.wchq.org)
- Prevent adverse drug events — in this process, all medications a patient is taking are identified, including drug names, dosages and frequency. This information helps to make sure the patient takes the correct medications while in the hospital.
To help patients prepare a list of their medications, a pamphlet called “My Medicines” is included in the Froedtert patient admission packet. It contains a form for listing all medications — prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements — the person is taking. It’s important for patients to maintain an updated medication list and keep it with them for every healthcare visit.
Upon admission, a hospital pharmacist obtains the patient’s medication history. The pharmacist makes sure that any new medications ordered for the patient in the hospital are the same as the medications the patient is already taking.
Each patient’s current list of medications is compared against the physician’s admission, transfer, and/or discharge orders for medication. When the patient moves from one setting to another within the hospital, such as from one unit to another, a pharmacist will review previous medication orders with new orders and plans for care, and resolve any differences.
- Follow specific guidelines to prevent death and complications related to ventilator-associated pneumonia in the intensive care units.
- Implement rapid response teams — a physician, nurse and respiratory therapist immediately respond to patients who have critical needs. The team is available 24 hours a day in the hospital and clinics.
- Follow guidelines to prevent infection at surgical sites.
During the 100,000 Lives campaign, project teams at Froedtert & The Medical College worked to put all of these safety improvements in place. Efforts such as these have resulted in a decrease of 111 avoidable deaths over the 18-month period. In addition, these programs contribute to shorter hospital stays and lower costs to patients.
Enhanced Care for Intensive Care PatientsIn 2005, Froedtert & Community Health, along with partners ThedaCare in Appleton and Bellin Health System in Green Bay, launched a remote intensive care unit (ICU). The remote ICU also adds an extra layer of monitoring for the hospitals’ sickest patients.
The remote ICU consists of computers and special software that allows trained staff to see what is happening with ICU patients at all of the hospitals. This technology allows staff to see monitors, lab values, and the patients themselves with cameras in each patient’s room. The system provides an extra set of eyes to watch each patient, note trends and catch some things more quickly than in a traditional ICU. Most ICU patients like knowing that someone else is watching over them.
The remote ICU is staffed by a board-certified critical care intensivist (a physician who specializes in critical care medicine) and by experienced ICU nurses along with administrative staff.
Medication AbbreviationsCertain abbreviations used for medication prescriptions can be easily mistaken, especially when written by hand. To reduce medication errors that can be caused by unclear abbreviations, Froedtert Hospital has taken action to eliminate the use of dangerous abbreviations.
Electronic Error ReportingHospital staff members are a vital part of our continuous efforts to improve patient safety. If a staff member notices a potential or actual error, he or she is required to complete an error report.
An error report must be completed for all errors or unusual occurrences involving inpatients, outpatients, visitors and staff. In 2006, an electronic error reporting system was begun, making it easier for staff to complete an error report using a computer. Through this system, staff who investigate incidents are notified immediately, speeding up the investigation process.
Reporting errors is an important way to improve the processes and services that support patient care. The staff member involved with an error assists in the identification of system problems that may have contributed to the error or incident, and the supervisor/manager who reviews the report focuses on opportunities to improve processes.
Patient Privacy Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin are committed to providing healthcare services consistent with the very highest standards of ethics and integrity. This includes respecting and protecting the privacy rights of our patients. For more information, please read Privacy Practices and Understanding HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
National Patient Safety GoalsThe Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization that sets national healthcare standards. The commission, which has accredited healthcare facilities since 1951, conducts extensive onsite visits of healthcare providers — including Froedtert Hospital — every three years, focusing on the facility’s ability to provide safe, high-quality care.
Each year, The Joint Commission establishes National Patient Safety Goals to promote specific improvements in patient safety. Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin comply with all of the patient safety goals.
The goals highlight problematic areas in health care and describe evidence and expert-based solutions to these problems. The goals focus on system-wide solutions, wherever possible. Accredited organizations are evaluated for continuous compliance with the National Patient Safety Goals. As a Joint Commission-accredited organization, Froedtert Hospital is committed to complying with these goals.
Author: Marla Fraunfelder
Date: Oct. 25, 2006