I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “You’re only as good as your word.”
Our standing pledge at CIUSSS West-Central Montreal is that we will never stop looking for new ways to safeguard the well-being of those who rely on us for health care and social services. Now I’m happy to tell you how we’re, once again, putting promises into practice.
In my April 2017 blog post, I described a recent trip to Yale New Haven Health, where I learned about the organization’s daily patient safety report. Five days a week, managers from numerous sites come together to trade information, insights and opinions about major quality and safety occurrences, such as accidents and similar incidents, that had taken place during the previous 24 hours.
After one such meeting, which lasted no more than 15 minutes, I had time to reflect on what I had just witnessed. Once everyone had left the room, I vividly recall thinking that our CIUSSS clearly needed to adopt this practice.
Now fast-forward two years. On Thursday, September 5 at 8:00 a.m., our CIUSSS held its inaugural Morning Safety Meeting. Every senior leader, spanning every corner of our CIUSSS, was present either in person or by phone. Lead by our Director of Quality, Joanne Côté, we went around the room, person by person, and where necessary, discussed the quality and safety concerns that managers raised.
You might wonder why we need such a formal procedure. The answer is simple: In a network as large as ours, it can be a challenge to effectively understand and communicate to all of the key participants what is going on at any given time. For the safety of our users, this meeting has become a pivotal means of identifying, managing and minimizing the impact of serious problems as soon as they arise.
With five meetings now under our belt, we’re well on our way to making further improvements to the safety of our patients, residents and clients. For now, the meetings are being held twice a week, but our goal is to eventually raise that number to five.
Is it practical or realistic to expect this type of meeting to become a permanent fixture of our management process? Some may have their doubts, but on average, each discussion has lasted a mere six to 10 minutes. That’s hardly a burden, especially when our users’ safety and the quality of their care is worth every second.
This is a way to develop shared accountability and to promote leadership. A good leader develops followers; but a great leader develops leaders!