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December open forums focus on employee safety, wellness

At open forums Dec. 13 and 14, President Richard D’Aquila presented the latest patient safety, patient experience and finance statistics, along with YNHH fiscal year 2018 priorities. He was joined by Kevin A. Myatt, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Yale New Haven Health System.

Q: Is the hospital pursuing new patient safety strategies in 2018?

A: (D’Aquila) Our high reliability efforts are continuing, with even more focus on near-miss and precursor safety events. Near-miss events do not cause harm because errors are caught before reaching the patient. Precursor events reach the patient, causing minimal or no detectable harm. We will analyze each event to learn what caused the errors and how to prevent future errors.

Q: One of the 2018 focus areas is the Center for Genomic Health. What is that?

A: (D’Aquila) Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine are developing a service line in genomics, which will include using genetic mapping to help target treatments and improve patient outcomes. For example, we’ll be able to map the DNA of cancerous tissue from a Smilow patient, send that information to a national database and match it with tissue from patients being treated for similar cancers. Information from the database will help physicians determine the best treatment for the Smilow patient. Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine will also contribute information to this database.

Q: What is Yale New Haven doing to improve employee safety?

A: (Myatt) The health system is in the first year of an effort to reduce – and ultimately eliminate – employee injuries. We are implementing a structure that will enable us to classify events using the serious safety event classification system and conduct root cause analyses of events to guide improvement efforts. We have launched a dashboard that tracks employee injuries, which promotes data transparency and allows managers to see events and trends in their departments in real time. Managers will use the dashboard to document each injury and complete their initial investigation.

Q: How does the hospital help employees who are injured on the job?

A: (Myatt) For employees who experience job-related musculoskeletal injuries twice or more in a two-year period, the hospital offers the 12-week LivingStrong program, which provides health coaching, a free, three-month fitness center membership and other services.

Q: How is the hospital handling aggressive behavior against employees?

A: (Myatt): Service line leaders are working with Human Resources, Protective Services, Psychiatry and other areas to determine what’s causing aggressive behavior incidents and how to prevent them. The health system has launched an aggressive behavior task force of staff and leaders from all hospitals.

Q: Are there specific efforts under way at Yale New Haven Hospital?

A: (Myatt) A hospital team will soon be implemented to focus on these areas: Standardizing the definitions for assaults; evaluating current reporting mechanisms (RL Solutions and First Report of Injury) to determine if reporting can be simplified; looking at existing and new victim support resources; and evaluating and recommending staff training on managing assault and aggressive behavior. Our efforts are aligned with a Connecticut Hospital Association initiative. which Yale New Haven Health System leaders are involved in.

Q: How is the hospital supporting employee health and wellness?

A: (Myatt) We have many programs to support health and well-being, promote mindfulness and reduce stress. Our Employee and Family Resources program offerings include mindfulness meditation sessions that can be scheduled for departments. Employees can also call to access these sessions, Tuesdays at 2 pm and Fridays at noon (888-398-2342, access code 3862125). We’ve seen employee participation in the Know Your Numbers program increase, from 63 percent in 2014 to 83 percent in 2017. A number of employees who discovered they have health conditions are receiving free health coaching and personalized care coordination through the livingwellCARES program. I encourage employees to visit the HR section on the YNHHS intranet and click “wellness” to learn more about other health and wellness services.