The Virginia Mason (VM) Medical Center based in and around Seattle consists of one 350 bed hospital facility and 9 satellite units. They employ 5000 staff, 500 of which are physicians.
The Patient Safety Alert (PSA) system was introduced in 2002 following a staff survey. This showed that staff were fearful of speaking-up about concerns. Also, staff doubted that information generated from concerns would improve the safety of care. At the time of the survey VM staff wishing to raise concerns had to complete a quality incident report (QIR). Typically, QIRs would sit on a shelf collecting dust for months, then filed away and forgotten. As we know from countless reports and commentaries into safety failures in healthcare and other industries, perceptions of fear and futility around speaking-up are inimical to creating a positive speak-up or open culture.
Virginia Mason share their results of implementing the PSAs and 10 lessons for speaking up in the NHS.