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UPMC Passavant Hospital Calls on RMU To Help Improve Patient Safety

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pittsburgh -- UPMC Passavant Hospital received a grant from The Beckwith Institute to implement TeamSTEPPS which is a collection of tools, strategies and training curriculum focused on establishing high performing reliable teams to improve patient safety and outcomes.

UPMC Passavant Hospital called on RMU’s Janet Barber to train two medical teams at UPMC Passavant Hospital. Barber, a registered nurse, is the operations manager and education planner for the Regional Research and Innovation in Simulation Education (RISE) Center at RMU. She is also a TeamSTEPPS master trainer.

TeamSTEPPS was developed by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the U.S. Department of Defense. It includes a series of techniques to improve communication, leadership, patient monitoring and mutual support among healthcare workers.

Thus far Barber has completed classes for UPMC Passavant Hospital’s outpatient imaging services registration team, and she is currently holding classes for members of the operating room and cardiovascular intensive care units.

“The goal is to improve patient safety and outcomes by improving communication,” said Barber.

Some of the TeamSTEPPS tools are designed to eliminate communication barriers between staff members and teams. The program, for example, teaches a system for improving “handoffs” – when information is shared about a patient because of a shift change, a patient transfer, or other transition in care.

The process of implementing TeamSTEPPS includes an assessment of the hospital’s current processes, culture, and relationships among team members. “The aim is to standardize communication” to prevent errors, said Amy Thompson, a registered nurse and clinical education specialist at UPMC Passavant Hospital.

Communicating effectively with other health care providers isn’t something doctors necessarily learn in medical school. Other members of the care team may lack the confidence needed to raise concerns about patient safety with a physician, a problem that TeamSTEPPS is designed to help staff members overcome.

Facilities that successfully employ TeamSTEPPS commit to making a change in their culture, according to Thompson and Barber. “It’s doing what it is intended to do as long as it is implemented and used correctly,” said Barber.