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For LifePoint, Patient Safety Goes Beyond Clinicians

By Philip Betbeze  
   September 14, 2017

More than 50 senior leaders and board members who are not in direct patient care roles have been certified in patient safety by a national body because 'patient safety is everyone's duty.'

Rusty Holman is a physician and chief medical officer at LifePoint Health, so it makes sense that he should be certified in patient safety. He holds a Certified Professional in Patient Safety credential from the National Patient Safety Foundation, which merged with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in May, 2017.

For the past few years, Holman has headed up an internal executive patient safety conference in the Nashville area for leaders at LifePoint.

The 72-hospital chain considers it mandatory for patient safety officers and quality directors at its hospitals to achieve the certification, and supports other clinical positions in achieving the designation as well.

But as it became increasingly clear that quality and patient safety could be measured and quantified, and as more of its clinicians became certified, a few LifePoint executives began to see the value in getting certified themselves.

The logic: Their effectiveness and empathy for clinicians could be greatly improved by learning more about quality and patient safety themselves. They went to Holman with a request: Could they also get certified?

"Much in same way we've always exercised financial and operational discipline and strong community partnership, we've pivoted our culture toward patient safety in such a way that recognizes the improvements we need to make and that there's a science to patient safety," he says.

"It's not just a series of common-knowledge principles you follow through on."

Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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