Sanchez and Gareth Buckley, D.V.M.,UF Small Animal Hospital medical director and a clinical assistant professor for emergency medicine and critical care, became champions for the system. They visited every clinical area of the Small Animal Hospital and the Large Animal Hospital to introduce the new system and address staff concerns. They explained what they planned to do with the information and spoke about the benefits to patient safety and care.
“People were naturally a little bit nervous that this would be a way of punishing people who make mistakes, but I think we’ve dispelled that myth,” said Buckley. “Our staff understands that it’s all about looking at what we’re doing to always offer the best clinical service and asking ourselves if we can do better.”
When the system launched, Sanchez and Buckley developed a core safety team with Dana Zimmel, D.V.M., UF College of Veterinary Medicine chief medical officer and associate dean for clinical services, and Megan Eide, Pharm.D., the UF College of Veterinary Medicine pharmacy manager. The team met for weekly huddles to discuss safety events and figure out ways to prevent them from happening again.
They added a permanent agenda item to the quarterly hospital assembly to discuss the reports being generated and what steps they were taking as a result. Monthly meetings with service area leaders also helped to disseminate information, and regular gatherings with smaller groups helped address concerns and garner feedback.
As staff became familiar with the system and saw improvements develop from their work, a shift in perspective became apparent.
“It’s very encouraging,” said Sanchez. “They feel substantially empowered and like someone is listening to them. They’re part of the team.”
Kelly Higgs-Rick, L.V.T., the UF Large Animal Hospital internal medicine manager, said that when the system first launched, her staff would call her every time they logged a report. Now, they’re inputting information independently. It was a turning point, Higgs-Rick said.
“They have always been patient safety advocates as individuals, but now they see these broad initiatives and real changes that are coming out of it,” she said. “They get to have a voice at the table. That’s really critical.”