Patient Safety as Our Foundation

As part of our ongoing commitment to patient safety, Virginia Mason has set a single organizational goal: Ensuring the safety of our patients by eliminating avoidable death and injury. Virginia Mason is focusing on this goal because the best clinical outcomes cannot be achieved without establishing the safest possible environment for patients. Caring for patients safely is the foundation for living up to Virginia Mason's vision of becoming the Quality Leader. That means zero defects in the care that is provided.

Evidence-based practice improvements
Virginia Mason is implementing evidence-based practice improvements in 12 clinical areas proven to dramatically improve safety in hospitals. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) initiated the 5 Million Lives Campaign, which aims to eliminate needless deaths and injuries from America's health care system. Virginia Mason is implementing the practice changes recommended by the IHI, as well as additional evidence-based practice changes proven to have a dramatic impact on enhancing patient safety.

MRSA: Patient Safety at Virginia Mason
In recent years, MRSA has captured the attention of the medical community, as well as the media. MRSA is an infection that is resistant to many antibiotics and is difficult to treat. It can easily spread through contact, which is why attention to infection control is so critical to patient safety.

Patient involvement
Virginia Mason has developed a brochure for all patients that provides practical information to help them take an active role in ensuring their own safety. Patients as a key member of their safety team. Just as all 5,000 Virginia Mason staff members are considered "safety inspectors" — on the lookout for potential medical errors before they occur — Virginia Mason is asking patients to be safety inspectors in their own care. As part of this, Virginia Mason's staff is receiving training on how to be proactive in welcoming and encouraging participation from patients.

Family Activated Safety Team (FAST)
The Family Activated Safety Team (FAST) provides you with extra help in the hospital when you have concerns about your care or the care of a family member. Activate FAST by dialing 6-FAST (ext. 63278) from any hospital phone. Within minutes, members of the FAST team will respond directly to your hospital room. Reasons to call the FAST hotline can include:

  • Being concerned the medical team is not recognizing or addressing a change related to your own medical condition or the condition of a family member.
  • Experiencing problems with the way care is being given, such as confusion about treatment and what needs to be done.

Providing a safe care environment for you and your family is our top priority. If anything is happening that you feel could compromise the care you receive, please talk to a staff member or call the FAST hotline. We want to address your concerns at the earliest possible opportunity. View a printable FAST flier. (Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)

If you have concerns about patient care, quality or safety

Individuals are encouraged to contact the Virginia Mason Patient Relations department with any concerns about patient care, safety, or quality, at (206) 223-6616. If your concerns are not resolved, you may contact the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), One Renaissance Boulevard, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., 60181 or (800) 994-6610.

Mistake-proofing training
All Virginia Mason staff are provided with mistake-proofing training. This training helps every staff member in their individual efforts to achieve defect-free care.

Improving communications
New communication tools and methods will be developed to help make the work culture of Virginia Mason truly a culture of safety — for patients as well as staff.

Developing a culture of safety
To achieve the goal of eliminating avoidable death and injury, all Virginia Mason staff are called to be "safety inspectors" — empowered to "stop the line" when potential sources of mistakes are discovered, without fear of blame.

The fact is that the best clinical outcomes cannot be achieved without establishing the safest possible environment in which to deliver care. That is the reason for Virginia Mason's focus on patient safety. Our patients deserve no less.