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Patient Safety

At UPMC in central Pa., patient safety is at the heart of our ability to provide reliable and consistent quality care. That is why we are committed to taking every step possible to assure your safety — and that of your family and friends — while you are in our care.

Open communication and collaboration are essential for a safe environment. UPMC in central Pa. promotes a culture of safety in all our hospitals by actively providing opportunities for our patients and clinical team members to share their concerns and insights. By quickly identifying safety problems and reporting errors, we can continually improve patient safety.

We also know that the best results occur when everyone is involved in patient safety — from each member of the UPMC care team to you, our patient. Working together, we are making steady progress toward our goal of zero errors:

  • Through patient safety initiatives, such as reducing falls, medication safety, and infection prevention, you can directly help create a safer environment.
  • By using the latest best safety practices and technology — in the surgical suite, emergency department, and in the hospital room — we are working to improve patient outcomes.

A Culture of Safety

Every patient and member of UPMC’s care team has the freedom — and our support — to report errors and suggest ways to improve.

We recognize that this culture of safety is key to realizing our goal of providing the best possible quality care for our patients. We especially focus on ways to reduce — and one day eliminate — such preventable errors as infections and medicine mistakes.

As a patient, you have a critical voice in this process. Your insights and concerns are important to supporting a culture of safety at our hospitals. The more you understand and participate in your care, the better and safer it will be. And should an error in your care occur, you and your family will find a variety of ways to report and share your concerns.

Every member of our health care team also shares a responsibility to report any problem with the ultimate goal of identifying solutions for improved care. We also measure our progress in these critical areas by comparing our performance to the national benchmarks.

A Just Culture

A key component of our commitment to safety is A Just Culture — an approach that fosters an environment of open communication and shared accountability. It’s a workplace model that empowers staff to voice concerns about patient safety without fear of retaliation and ensures confidence that leaders will listen and take action in a fair and consistent manner.

Through A Just Culture, safety is promoted by encouraging staff — from the bottom to the top — to communicate and discuss sensitive issues freely. We have established guidelines for dealing openly and consistently with mistakes and near misses when they do occur. We focus on understanding the underlying circumstances, taking action to address problems, supporting those involved, and developing corrective measures for going forward.

A Just Culture creates an environment where our staff is comfortable speaking up and identifying opportunities for improvement, and our leaders ensure steps are taken to learn from these events and prevent future errors. It is essential to our patient safety mission and ongoing efforts to improve our culture of safety.

Avoiding Injuries to Patients

At UPMC in central Pa. we are committed to working continually to eliminate or reduce the risk of preventable harm to our patients. We take a proactive approach across our health system that focuses on creating safer procedures and environments for you and all patients.

Here are five practical ways we are working to make your care more reliable and safe:

  1. A three-phase pre-procedure safety checklist is used in every UPMC in central Pa. operating room, including outpatient surgical centers.
  2. Medication safety measures help ensure that you receive the right medicines in the right dose, in the right form, and at the right time.
  3. A falls prevention program involves careful screening and monitoring of every patient at risk for falls, and implementing special safety measures, when needed.
  4. Standardized infection control measures help prevent and control the spread of hospital associated infections.
  5. A patient blood management program uses a patient-centered team approach to avoid or minimize blood transfusions.


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