How to evaluate safety implementation in healthcare

As we know, having a safety plan is extremely important in healthcare. Risks of injury can incur financial costs to a facility, and have physical and emotional effects on injured healthcare workers. For these reasons, it is important to be able to effectively implement safety plans and measures to mitigate identified risks to safety. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suggests regular risk assessment and reduction activities1. In previous blogs, Qlicksmart has looked at how facilities and people can invest in healthcare worker safety and how facilities can translate safety ideas into practice. But how do we know if changes to safety are being taken up by staff and safety is improving?

Evaluation is a very important part of safety implementation. Without this step of implementation, it can be difficult to know if changes are being engaged with by staff and effectively reducing risks to safety. As a part of implementing safety into practice, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has published a guide on Managing the Risks of Sharps Injuries2. It lists performance monitoring and review as the final step to implementing a safety plan. The guide recommends that “steps should be taken to periodically review the effectiveness of the risk assessment and control measures in place” (page 17). In the US, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers a Self Assessment Tool for hospitals to use. The questionnaire is designed to assist hospitals in evaluating their implementation of key safety and health management activities3 by monitoring employee participation (page 3 of assessment tool) and other factors.

By evaluating safety participation among staff, changes and safety devices can be implemented more accurately. The infographic below uses seatbelts as an example to illustrate how evaluating change participation can optimise the implementation process to create a safer environment.

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