WellSpan Health Continuing Care Services Team
Care transitions are critical phases in a patients’ care journey. Given the risk of errors and safety concerns during care transitions and the lack of communication across multiple care settings, the Continuing Care Services (CCS) team at WellSpan Health recognized an opportunity to create and implement standardized reporting tools to bridge the gap. They developed a Preferred Provider Network (PPN), which uses a third-party vendor (TPV) safety portal to capture and analyze safety events originating in WellSpan facilities. In 2018, the TPV safety portal was modified to allow WellSpan employees to report non-WellSpan, post-acute safety events. Since PPN skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) do not have access to the TPV safety portal, in 2019 a safety reporting tool was added to WellSpan’s Continuing Care Portal, which provides all PPN facilities a venue for submitting WellSpan transition of care–related safety concerns. Together, these two functionalities have created a bidirectional, cross-continuum safety reporting capability.
Initially, safety event details as reported by PPN SNF partners were investigated by the CCS team. Event details were maintained for tracking and trending solely by the CCS team. Patient safety events were discussed at PPN meetings. System-level reporting was warranted to incorporate the PPN’s efforts into the TPV safety portal. In June 2019, events reported by PPN SNFs were subsequently transcribed into the TPV safety portal, leading to standard work for hospital safety leaders, detailed hospital investigations, and broader shared learning for all WellSpan teams. CCS implemented a biweekly safety conference call that involves PPN SNF leaders and WellSpan stakeholders to allow a platform for real-time information sharing.
Implementing this safety reporting system and encouraging employees and SNF partners to use standard reporting methodology has led to increased safety reporting, with a focus on transparency and patient-centered care while maintaining a blame-free philosophy. The innovative effort also has provided opportunities for care teams in acute care and post-acute care to collaborate regarding safety issues that impact their mutual patients.