OHS Canada Magazine

Electrolab Training Systems & Primedia Healthcare prescribes first-of-its-kind safety training program to alleviate medical errors

April 29, 2003

Health & Safety

SafeStart addresses human behaviors that contribute to more than 90 percent of all medical injuries and errors

April 1, 2003 PRIMEDIA Workplace Learning in conjunction with ELECTROLAB Training Systems today announced the launch of SafeStart Healthcare, a first-of-its-kind safety training program designed to address human behaviors that lead to most medical errors and patient injuries. The program, available today, has been tested and validated by both large and small healthcare organizations and has demonstrated a significant ability to improve the human side of safety.

With heightened national concern by the public of medical errors and patient injuries, PRIMEDIA Healthcare identified a void in standard healthcare training programs. Generally, current healthcare safety programs emphasize processes and procedures but overlook the reality that clinical personnel are human, and thus prone to make mistakes. SafeStart, an easy-to-implement program originally utilized with widespread success in the industrial sector across North America, has been redesigned and tested specifically by and for healthcare professionals to complement other training initiatives by teaching caregivers methods to reduce human errors.

One of the main reasons medical errors are still occurring in high numbers and patients are still being injured, is because the focus on personal behavior has been neglected, said Laura Barnett, of PRIMEDIA Healthcare. SafeStart presents a new way to become aware of and to control our actions and habits that can result in medical errors and patient injuries. Its simply a new way of thinking.

More than 90 percent of all healthcare incidents are partially caused by unintentional or habitual at-risk behaviors by medical professionals. SafeStart teaches caregivers to be more aware of these behaviors in order to avoid critical errors.

SafeStart, which is scalable to all facility/personnel sizes, consists of five instructor-led modules taught in weekly installments. The videotapes and employee workbooks use real-life situations to effectively engage participants. Healthcare employees learn from their analysis of near misses, discussion of the material presented and their own personal experiences. By making people more aware of how certain behaviors impact their safety and the safety of their patients, accidents and injuries are significantly reduced or avoided.

The SafeStart beta test was so effective in our facility that we quickly purchased the program to implement on a wider scale. It’s a simple but effective program that will work for anyone in any environment, said Deanna Parsons, at Cabell Huntington Hospital. One nurse reported that following the training she avoided making a potentially critical error thanks to the awareness lessons learned via SafeStart.

SafeStart significantly complements other process-, procedure- and technology-specific initiatives by providing an additional perspective that gives employees the tools they need to minimize critical errors that increase the risk of injury when hazards havent been or cant be eliminated.

Beta test sites verified that SafeStart helps create a culture of safety within a hospital by improving communication among employees and creating an open, non-punitive environment for clinical personnel to focus on improving care. SafeStart increases close call/near miss reporting, which fosters continued learning even after the program is completed.

Beta testers rated SafeStart high in all areas, particularly in the reduction of medical errors and patient injuries; teaching participants to recognize their state of mind and likelihood of making errors; establishing a culture of safety within a hospital; integration into existing patient safety processes; and decreasing competition among departments while increasing staff cooperation.

SafeStart is also designed to reduce compensatory claims and days lost to employee injury, in part because the program lessons extend beyond patient safety issues to help employees better avoid accidents and injuries that affect their own safety at work, at home and while driving. Additionally, SafeStart allows healthcare organizations to demonstrate caring for their employed/affiliated professionals. By sponsoring a safety awareness program that focuses on employees ability to avoid human errors, organizations impart support for their employees who have dedicated their careers to providing quality healthcare services. Thus, SafeStart enhances employee morale and retention, a major challenge in the healthcare industry.

Contact: Allison Townsend
Electrolab Training Systems
800-267-7482 ext. 313

About Electrolab Training Systems
Electrolab Training Systems is a family-owned business that has been providing training to Healthcare facilities, Industry and Educational Institutions for over 25 years. Larry Wilson, Vice-President of Electrolabs Health and Safety Division, is the author of SafeStart Advanced Awareness Training for Employees. SafeStart Training has been implemented across Canada and the United States in a variety of workplace environments, including utilities, pulp & paper, food & beverage, general manufacturing and healthcare. More information about the company can be found at www.electrolab.ca.

About PRIMEDIA Healthcare
PRIMEDIA Healthcare has been providing training via online, CD-ROM, videotape or satellite from the companys renowned networks, Health & Sciences Television Network (HSTN), Joint Commission Satellite Network, Long Term Care Network (LTCN), and Interactive Medical Networks (IMN). It is a division of PRIMEDIA Workplace Learning, which has developed integrated learning solutions for more than eight million professionals in the industrial, healthcare, banking, automotive, fire and emergency, government, law enforcement and the private security markets since 1985. More information about the company can be found at www.pwpl.com.


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