SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- For the second year in a row, a continuous process improvement (CPI) initiative from Naval Health Clinic Hawaii (NHCH) was awarded first place in a regional essay competition, Navy Medicine West (NMW) announced today.
The winning entry, “Naval Health Clinic Hawaii’s Safety Culture Transformation and HRO Journey,” was selected from among 10 other submissions and describes the clinic’s journey, over the course of a year, towards maturing as a High Reliability Organization (HRO), an organization that operates in a complex, high-risk environment, such as health care, and persistently pursues safety.
The essay was authored by NHCH’s Capt. Marlene Sanchez, chief medical officer, and Lt. Cmdr. Vince Deguzman, pharmacy department head, who were also the team who submitted last year’s winning entry for the Captain Cheryl C. Ringer Memorial Award.
"If we embrace the HRO mindset, we can focus our limited resources on the most important issues,” said Deguzman. “This is even more critical now because of the changing landscape in the military healthcare system. In NHCH, we continually aspire to have this mindset to meet our mission of maintaining a ready medical force that delivers highly reliable, patient-centered care."
Using HRO pillars, including the commitment of leaders at all levels, NHCH implemented incremental changes that used strategy, application, and assessment to drive the clinic towards HRO transformation and maturity.
“Naval Health Clinic Hawaii’s essay describes their command's collective efforts to strengthen the pillars of high reliability—engaged leadership, culture of patient safety, robust process improvement—in vivid detail so that all commands within the region can replicate their incredible success in inspiring and sustaining a commitment to HRO from their entire workforce,” said Cmdr. Carol Zwieback, NMW’s director of process of improvement.
According to Capt. Sanchez, HRO needs to be a “team sport” that involves everyone in the health care system, including the patient, to be fully realized. When everyone is involved and preoccupied with failure, a hallmark of HRO, the journey to zero harm becomes easier to navigate.
“By making the right things easy to do and the easy thing the right thing to do by practicing HRO principles, the potential for harm is easier to identify and the team can act to prevent harm and improve processes,” said Sanchez.
The NMW Captain Cheryl C. Ringer Memorial Award recognizes CPI projects with measurable impact and sustainable benefits within the region that enhance delivery of patient care, streamline administrative support processes and improve the quality of all health care services.
“It is an exceptional honor for NHCH to be recognized with such a significant award for two consecutive years,” said Capt. Kim Zuzelski, NHCH commanding officer. “Capt. Sanchez and Lt. Cmdr. Deguzman tirelessly support every effort to prevent errors and make continuous process improvement a priority. I am humbled by the initiative and drive that the entire NHCH team continually displays in our pursuit of high reliability and patient safety.”
Navy Medicine West leads (NMW) Navy Medicine’s Western Pacific health care system and global research and development enterprise. Throughout the region, NMW provides medical care to nearly 700,000 beneficiaries across 10 naval hospitals, two dental battalions, and 51 branch clinics located throughout the West Coast of the U.S., Asia, and the Pacific. Globally, NMW also has oversight of eight research laboratories across the U.S. and overseas that deliver high-value, high-impact research products to support and protect the health and readiness of service members.
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