HR, OD, and the Culture of Patient Safety


Hospital Acquired Conditions (HACs) are a major issue in healthcare today and it seems high on everyone’s priorities to get good at preventing them. HACs like the ones in the infographic below, impact the patient’s health, the family’s perception of care, and the hospital’s financial status – ouch!

*Image credit to NDNQI

Hospitals may take many steps to reduce the number of HACs including forming committees and work groups, improving documentation, data mining, and root-cause analysis.

The HR/OD Connection

Ultimately, most of our readers come in when a learning opportunity is revealed and leadership is asking for help. The role of OD in clinical education varies but they may hear questions like these:

When a healthcare employee observes another who is not adhering to a Patient Safety standard, why are they not reporting it? Did they confront their colleague? If not, why? How can we enable a culture that fosters safety and accountability?

What Can I Do?

Explore the list of skills and behavioral competencies below that contribute to a safe treatment environment. Assessment and improvement in these areas can be championed by the HR or OD department – a challenge they may not be accustomed to answering! If HACs are a priority in your organization, you may find a new opportunity to improve the quality of care delivered by your frontline staff.


Competencies for a Culture of Safety in Healthcare

1 Zimlichman E., Henderson D., Tamir O., et al. Health Care-Associated Infections: A Meta-analysis of Costs and Financial Impact on the US Health Care System. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(22):2039-2046. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.9763

2 Wong, C., et al. (2011) The cost of serious fall-related injuries in three Midwestern hospitals. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 27(2), 81-87. Retrieved from pubmed/21939135.

3 Spetz, J., Brown, D., Aydin, C., & Donaldson, N. (2013) The value of reducing hospital-acquired pressure ulcer prevalence: an illustrative analysis. Journal of Nursing Administration, 41(4), 235-241. Retrieved from