The expansion of health systems through mergers, acquisitions and affiliations offers the opportunity to improve care for patients. However, it can also lead to unintended harm to patients if adequate planning and communication don’t occur. Ariadne Labs and CRICO/Risk Management Foundation partnered to develop a set of tools to guide health system leaders through a communication process that uncovers important patient safety considerations.
The Mission and Guiding Principles are the place to start. This document provides:
- An example for how health systems should specify their shared objective
- Guiding principles for achieving the objective
The Patient Safety Discussion Toolkit for System Expansion is a manual for clinical leaders to use during the pre-affiliation. The Toolkit:
- Guides clinical leaders on how to foster the right environment for these important discussions
- Offers recommendations on how to use the Discussion Guides
- Provides tips on how to turn the discussions into successful action plans
- Comes in four formats: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF
The Discussion Guides provide a set of discussion questions to initiate conversations among clinical leaders about the patient safety risks that can be otherwise overlooked when systems merge. While the guides are ideally used during the pre-affiliation phase of system expansion, they can be employed at any time in the process to ensure critical safety issues are being addressed.
The All-Specialty Guide is to be used in all departments by all clinical leaders. Clinical leaders in obstetrics, surgery and emergency medicine should supplement with specialty-specific guides. The Guides:
- Encourage open lines of communication
- Foster relationship building and teamwork
- Uncover potential risks
- Support early planning to mitigate potential harms.
The Joint Clinical Integration Guide provides health system leaders with a set of guiding principles and action items for successful clinical integration that increases the value of care provided to patients. The Guide is meant to be used once a system expansion agreement is in place.
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