CareFirst to create environment for safer patient care

July 22, 2014


“Please don’t hurt me. Heal me, and be nice to me.”

In that order, those are our patients’ most basic needs. Preventing errors and not harming patients are the most important responsibilities of every Texas Children’s employee.

Organization-wide Error Prevention Training launched last week to help ensure every one of us is equipped with the information and tools to keep patients safe.

This video explains why preventing errors is so critical and how each of us can make care safer at Texas Children’s.

“We take care of the sickest of the sick at Texas Children’s, and when you’re taking care of that many severely ill children, it’s a real challenge,” said President and CEO Mark A. Wallace. “Everyone recognizes that creating a safe environment – focusing on safety and error omission – is job one. Doing no harm to our patients is first and foremost.”

The Error Prevention work launched as part of the CareFirst initiative, began in January. CareFirst is primarily two things: an intense study of our core clinical areas at the main campus and an aggressive, strategic plan for how we will address our most crucial needs in those areas. The initiative is focused on the main campus Emergency Center, Critical Care units, and the Operating Rooms/PACU, because these areas provide the highly complex services that our most critically ill patients need. While CareFirst centers around expanding to better accommodate the critical needs of these high patient volume areas, its purpose is greater.

“If we don’t have the right environment, the right tools, the right people or the right structure, then it becomes very challenging to deliver the very best possible care – the safest care,” said Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles D. Fraser. “Systems under duress – whether it be in the operating room or the emergency room or the intensive care unit – where there’s duress, then people become fatigued or distracted, and that’s an environment that is ripe for an error.”

The staff and employees involved in CareFirst work are vetting options to create the physical space and support needed in the core patient care areas. Combined with the Error Prevention training that kicked off last week, CareFirst ultimately will advance our efforts to ensure an optimal environment to receive and give the safest possible care.

“CareFirst is about making a promise to every child and woman who comes here that we will not harm them and equipping our facilities to ensure we keep that promise,” Wallace said. “It is far more comprehensive and much more important than expanding and building. It’s about doing what’s right for our employees and medical staff, and most importantly, what’s right for our patients, their families and their care. Ultimately, it’s about putting the care and safety of all of our patients and our people first.”

Error prevention training began in Hematology/Oncology in mid-July and will continue throughout other clinical areas over the next several months. In addition, online training will be provided for all non-clinical employees. Ultimately, every staff member and employee within Texas Children’s will receive error prevention training.

“My wish, my hope for every one of the 10,000 employees that will be going through training, that will hear about CareFirst, is that they stop and think about their individual role in supporting and delivering on zero harm,” said Chief Nursing Officer Lori Armstrong. “Everyone plays a role.”