USNH Yokosuka Celebrates National Patient Safety Awareness Week

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Story Number: NNS140306-06Release Date: 3/6/2014 9:16:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Josh Curtis
U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- U.S. Naval Hospital (USNH) Yokosuka staff members are recommitting themselves to ensuring patient safety in conjunction with National Patient Safety Awareness Week, and continuing a command-wide initiative to promote a culture of safety.

For the doctors, nurses, corpsman and support staff stationed at USNH Yokosuka, the term culture of safety is more than a catchy slogan; it's an ethos that's ingrained into the actions of everyone who works at the hospital, from the most junior staff member to the most senior.

"What we are looking at is whether or not patient safety is at that center of what people do," said USNH Yokosuka Quality Management Department Head Roy Lockwood. "This means that patient safety is at the forefront, and every action they perform is centered around patient safety."

USNH Yokosuka's President of Medical Staff Cmdr. Harley Dorey said every hospital has universal patient safety protocols in place. Protocols range from ensuring the doctor is operating on the correct side of the patient using the double check rule to ensuring the correct instruments are standing by for the procedure.

While universal protocols aid in protecting the patient, hospital staff knew even more could be done to reassure patients the care they receive at USNH Yokosuka is safe.

"Last year we had a meeting to discuss patient safety and how to advance the culture of safety and improve it," said Lockwood. "One of the things we talked about was the lack of standardized training, so we decided collectively to take on an initiative that had not been taken on before."

That initiative was to have staff up and down the chain of command, from E-1 to O-6 including the hospital's senior leadership, participate in an extensive patient safety certificate program offered by the National Quality Colloquium, a national patient safety forum.

According to Lockwood, UNSH Yokosuka had an unprecedented 128 staff members pass the course.

"Typically in the past organizations have had sporadic training, 20 or 30 people complete the course, but we are the first organization on this scale to standardize the training and then actually do the testing," said Lockwood "As far as we know there is not another organization which their entire governing body have standardized training and competency based testing."

It was important to Lockwood, Dorey and the hospital's quality care team that staff members from varying positions and pay grades complete the training.

"As we further ingrain a culture of safety and response, we want every person from the most junior service member on staff to the most senior member to have the same type of training and the same emphasis on safe, quality care." said Dorey.

Another benefit of the course was helping junior staff members feel empowered to stop a procedure if they consider anything in the process to be dangerous or could lead to a mishap.

"One of the reasons for the training was to show that everybody is on the same team and anyone can speak up and say 'Hey, this is wrong,' or 'this is unsafe,' if they feel the situation warrants it," said Dorey.

While USNH staff members are now shifting their approach to patient safety from reactive to a more proactive approach, providing safe, quality care to its patients is and will remain the hospital's number one goal, said Lockwood.

"I would say, the safety record of this facility is really quite exceptional," said Lockwood. "I think that not only will they find that the care is safe but we have good outcomes across the board. The staff really focuses on not only improving safety but also outcomes. I would have no reservations about telling people to receive their care here," he concluded.

Dorey echoes the sentiments of his colleague, saying the hospital has an incredible track record of safety.

U.S. Naval Hospital, Yokosuka is the largest U.S. military treatment facility on mainland Japan, caring for approximately 43,000 eligible beneficiaries.

For more news from U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, visit

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