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Sarah Yale, M.D., Elizabeth Mack, M.D. and Patrick Cawley, M.D.
(L to R) Sarah Yale, M.D., Elizabeth Mack, M.D., and MUSC Health CEO Patrick Cawley, M.D.

Residents’ reporting key to safety improvement

In September 2017, the American Association for Physician Leadership chose the Medical University of South Carolina as the sole 2017 Leape Ahead Award Winner. The award recognizes organizations that have exhibited innovation in the creation of education or training programs to advance physician leadership and improve health care for medical students or residents.

MUSC Health’s chief quality officer, Danielle Scheurer, M.D., developed a resident incentive program that incentivizes trainees to meet goals aligned with institutional quality goals. She also created a position for the Medical Director of GME Quality and Safety to push the envelope in all six of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) clinical learning environment review (CLER) focus areas.

In this role, Elizabeth Mack, M.D., has actively tackled the three common barriers to the reporting of serious safety events and near misses: time, lack of feedback and fear of retaliation. MUSC added a convenient hotline, in addition to its robust online reporting system, to improve real-time reporting. Quarterly reviews involving leadership, faculty, nurse management and safety officers detail issues raised by residents and what was done to mitigate them. MUSC has successfully adopted a “Culture of Safety” policy and a “Just Culture” that fosters a non-punitive environment in which all employees can feel safe reporting errors and near misses.

Culture of safety scores have improved through ongoing efforts in GME quality and safety.