January 16, 2020

Our HRO and safety highlights

As an Executive Director of Quality, Safety and Transformation, I am proud to say 2019 was a big year for our organisation when it comes to the number of safety initiatives we have implemented.

Not only has the year consolidated our understanding of a High Reliability Organisation (HRO) as it applies in the Australian health care setting and specifically, at Northern Health, but it has also delivered some significant initiatives that bring us closer to becoming a highly reliable organisation and achieving our goal of Trusted Care for our community.

We’ve achieved many goals so far, but our journey is not yet over.

Some highlights from 2019 include the establishment of eight Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Programs (CUSPs) to promote and improve patient safety. These CUSPs have engaged all ward staff and encouraged them to come forward with safety improvement ideas.

We have also established a dedicated safety science training open to all staff called ‘Reliable Innovation and Safety Science at Northern Health (RISSN)’. The training is free to all our staff and gives participants practical project coaching and advice, with the ability to positively contribute to safety of our patients.

I am also proud of our Simulation Clinical Community, who successfully coordinated four simulations with a quality and safety improvement focus. Another safety-focused initiative is our Daily Safety Brief. Northern Health’s Daily Safety Brief is a morning huddle where we get together to learn more about how we manage and solve our daily safety and operational challenges.

We have also launched our ideas management software ‘IdeaScale’. This is a platform where we host all ideas on improvements, innovation, as well as all creative ideas that came out of our monthly Ideas Labs. If you haven’t attended an Ideas Lab workshop before, I strongly encourage you to do so this year and contribute to creative problem solving in our organisation.

There are numerous things I look forward to in 2020, such as addition of two staff members who haven’t previously been part of the transformation team, and a new consumer who would be joining our steering committee. The quality and safety team will focus on increasing the levels of trust between teams and disciplines, which we’re calling horizontal trust, and removing waste from the system with the initial focus being on finding ways to save our patients’ time.

I am also looking forward to the introduction of Sharepoint software for project management and documentation management and the increased focus on our Staying Well initiatives.

If you would like to get involved, please contact the team at HRO@nh.org.au.

Dr Bill Shearer

Executive Director, Quality, Safety and Transformation

Bill with the HRO team