For This Virginia Hospital, Safety Is on the Daily Agenda

April 1, 2014

by Nancy Vessell

Nancy Vessell profile picIf the marketing director of the 445-bed Winchester (VA) Medical Center needs to track down the hospital’s busy medical directors, he knows where he can find them between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. each day. It’s a sure bet they will be in the Daily Safety Call.

So ingrained is this daily routine that attendance is a certainty. “If they’re not at that meeting, it must be their day off or they’re out of town,” says Tom Urtz, director of marketing and public relations for Valley Health, the system that owns Winchester Medical Center and five community hospitals in Virginia and West Virginia.

The Daily Safety Call is a key part of a campaign that was designed at the grass-roots level to enhance patient safety at Winchester Medical Center. It was spear­headed by the hospital’s vice president of medical affairs, Nicolas Restrepo, MD. Industry standards for patient safety were becoming stricter when he took the position three years ago.

“It was an awakening on my part, and an awakening on the organization’s part as well, that we had a significant distance to go if we were going to achieve eliminating patient harm,” says Restrepo.

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