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As the manager of clinical safety for WellMed and USMD, Mason analyzes reported situations in which a patient’s safety was at risk, such as when they fall. When Mason questioned why the number of incidents being reported seemed low, she discovered most employees and managers did not know about the appropriate incident reporting system or did not know how to use it.
She decided to take action. To resolve the issue, Mason approached the problem from several different directions. To make the incident reporting system more accessible, she worked with the marketing and compliance teams to place the system link in a location where it would be easier to find. She also implemented a patient safety communication and information-sharing platform on the intranet and began sending progress updates to clinic leadership. In addition, she provided one-on-one training in which she explained how to use the incident reporting system, and she uploaded job aids to WellMed University to make the information available to new users. As a direct result of her efforts, incident reporting increased significantly. To Mason, the increase in incidents meant there were many more opportunities to improve the health and safety of patients.
Now that employees are reporting incidents more frequently, Mason works to make the problem-solving process more consistent by asking the right questions to get to the root of the issues. The goal of the process is to develop consistent policies and procedures for common scenarios in order to raise awareness and prevent future issues.
When a batch of lab specimens were lost during transport to the testing lab, Mason helped implement a bar code scanning system to help eliminate the loss of future specimens.
In addition, Mason has built solid working relationships with the Optum risk/safety management team, and she contributed several ideas for enhancements to the incident reporting system to improve care delivery organizations throughout Optum. She is also developing a high-level plan to increase patient safety.
Karen Wagner, USMD associate director of compliance, praised Mason’s hard work by saying, “Beatrice’s approach to the administrative aspects of care delivery is to always keep the patient in mind and at the center of the discussion. She enables tough discussions to occur that get to process improvement without a focus on blame.”
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