William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
Madison VA selected for HRO rollout
June 12, 2019
The William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital was recently selected to help lead the way in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to transform the nation’s largest integrated health care system into a high reliability organization (HRO). William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital was one of 18 sites selected to kick off Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) HRO roll-out.
Pioneered in highly complex environments, such as aviation and nuclear energy, HROs put procedures and protocols in place that maximize safety and minimize harm, which in the medical industry assures every patient receives excellent care, every time.
William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital serves over 42,000 Veterans within their primary service area comprising 15 counties in south central Wisconsin and four in northwestern Illinois.
“We are proud and excited to help lead VHA’s journey to High Reliability,” said John Rohrer, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital director. “Our staff is focused on ensuring exceptional care for our Veterans, their families, and caregivers in the safest possible environment each and every day. We are all committed to continuing, and expanding on that exceptional work as we begin our HRO journey.”
“VA has been a leader in patient safety for years,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Adopting high reliability principles more formally represents the next step for delivering the best health care to Veterans. “These principles align with our greater vision of transforming business operations and delivering exceptional customer service to Veterans,” Wilkie said. “Our culture is changing and pursuing HRO principles nationwide is our pledge to empower staff and keep Veterans the safest they can be on our watch.”
Research shows high reliability organizations experience fewer accidents despite being high-risk environments where small errors can produce catastrophic results. A February Leadership Summit kicked off the HRO journey and introduced high reliability concepts and practices to the 18 sites. Lessons learned from these 18 sites will guide a more impactful rollout across every VHA medical facility in 2020.
VHA’s journey to become an HRO is consistent with national safety goals set forth by The Joint Commission, an independent, nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies approximately 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S.
In addition to a safer environment focused on reducing errors and preventing patient harm, HRO principles and values call for deference to expertise; oftentimes, the patient’s family caregiver is that expert. HRO will empower Veterans and their family caregivers, along with employees who work hands-on with Veterans, to make decisions and impact improvements that aim for excellent care for every patient, every time.