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Sharing 'near misses' for improving patient care

Harrington trustees hold annual meeting

Mike Loin gets a seasonal flu vaccine shot from Sue Valentine before Tuesday’s annual meeting of the Harrington Hospital trustees. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
October 28, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — After more than a year of significant external growth, Harrington Hospital aims to switch gears and focus internally on patient safety and quality in the next year.

That was one of the key points raised by Tuesday's annual meeting, but in doing it, Harrington is far from alone. Hospitals statewide are trying to deal with what the records dub "serious reportable events" (SREs)— everything from falls to crimes against patients to deaths on the operating table.

"These things are extremely rare, but always have a terrible impact on patients' families" and the reputation of hospitals, said Karen Nelson, a nurse and vice president of clinical affairs at the Mass. Hospital Association. "When bad things happen, it becomes a serious issue for the community."

At Harrington, Peg Skowron's new job as vice president for safety and quality is aimed specifically at dealing with and preventing such events. The key to doing that, she said, is to combine good policies, teamwork and technology.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

Janines Frostee
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