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CKHS Implements Daily ‘Safety Check-In’ at Each Hospital

In Brief

  • Each hospital of Crozer-Keystone Health System now performs a “safety check-in” at 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.
  • The daily check-in meetings, which are mandatory for one manager/appointed representative from every department/unit of the hospital, are led by a senior administrator of that hospital. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss current and anticipated safety events occurring throughout the hospital.
  • Each safety check-in is a method for leadership awareness of front line operations. It is a forum for learning the status of operations, identifying problems, assigning ownership for issue resolution, and ensuring a common understanding of potential safety threats.

Each Crozer-Keystone Health System hospital now performs a “safety check-in” at 8:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. The daily check-in meetings, which are mandatory for one manager/appointed representative from every department/unit of the hospital, are led by a senior administrator of each hospital. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss current and anticipated safety events occurring throughout the hospital.

“Our obligation is to provide the safest care possible to our patients, and to prevent any harm that may be anticipated,” says Eric Dobkin, M.D., vice president of Quality and Patient Safety for Crozer-Keystone Health System. “The goal of these daily meetings is to create an open communication forum for every department of the hospital and health system so that we can reduce system failures that can potentially cause patient and employee harm. They help us to effectively respond when failures do occur, and they help us proactively avoid potential safety threats that are presented.”

At these brief meetings, which last approximately 15 minutes, each department representative reports the following:

• Look back: Significant safety or quality issues from the last 24 hours
• Look ahead: Anticipated safety or quality issues in next 24 hours
• Follow-up: Status reports on issues identified today or days before.

“We operate in a complex, high-risk environment,” says Eileen Young, M.S.N., R.N., assistant vice president for Quality and Performance Improvement for Crozer-Keystone Health System. “Patient status and unit operations can change quickly, and this daily safety check-in provides immediate focus and communication about the most at-risk patients, allows clarification of issues, rapid intervention and quick transfers of information to the rest of the hospital managers/administrators. This results in fewer safety events and reduces system failures that cause patient and employee harm.”

The safety check-in creates leadership awareness of front line operations. It is a forum for learning the status of operations, identifying problems, assigning ownership for issue resolution, and ensuring a common understanding of potential safety threats. Some of the reportable events at each huddle include:

• Patients adverse events/near misses
• Staffing issues
• Weather-related issues
• Delays in care
• Equipment/IT issues
• Pharmacy shortages
• Disruptive behaviors

The daily safety check-in is held at all Crozer-Keystone hospitals, including Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Springfield Hospital, Taylor Hospital and Community Hospital (which currently “huddles” twice a week because it is an outpatient facility).

“Since implementing the daily check-in at each hospital, we have improved leadership awareness and communication of the status of hospital operations,” says Patrick Gavin, president of Crozer-Chester Medical Center and senior vice president of Hospital Operations for Crozer-Keystone Health System. “We’ve also seen early identification and rapid resolution of problems impacting the safety of patients and employees.”

“After each check-in, managers share information, such as imminent patient safety risks and actions to protect our patients from harm, with their staff so that they can work with heightened risk awareness,” Young adds.

The hospital’s daily safety check-in meetings have led to supervisors implementing smaller, departmental safety huddles on their units.

“We now do a safety huddle at the beginning of each shift on our unit,” says Annie McGowan, R.N., B.S.N., clinical nursing director of the Critical Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “These huddles provide on open forum for employees to discuss specific safety issues surrounding each individual patient on the unit, receive feedback from the last hospital safety check-in, and identify any issues that should be presented at the next daily check-in. This ensures that each patient is safe in our care.”

For information about Crozer-Keystone Health System, and to find a physician who is right for you, call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258) or visit our website

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