by Staff Sgt. Susan L. Davis
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
1/9/2014 - GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The 319th Medical Group Patient Safety Program was recently named the best in Air Mobility Command for the first time.
Elizabeth Nelson, Healthcare Team Training Contract Patient Safety
manager, credits the win to numerous improvements the clinic has made in
the last year.
"In 2013, we added a dedicated Patient Safety Program Manager, increased
staff education and training, and bolstered involvement of section
patient safety representatives," she said. "Perhaps the most significant
improvement was leadership encouragement of near-miss and event
reporting in the patient safety reporting system, which helps identify
what does and doesn't work. Having their support empowered Airmen to
speak up and make suggestions for improving patient care."
Nelson said the purpose of the patient safety program is to prevent
patient harm through prevention and process improvement efforts. A large
part of the program relies on event and near-miss reporting, which is
used to identify procedures needing some changes, as well as various
proactive monitoring surveys.
For the 319th Medical Group, she said, it's all about streamlining the
process and accomplishing the mission in the most efficient way
"For us, the focus is on the process, not who to blame, and that
promotes a learning environment that values integrity and continued
improvement," she said. "These values are vital to the medical career
Nelson said Patient Safety is also involved in team training and
patient-centered events such as National Drug Take-Back Day and Patient
Safety Awareness Week. Award nominees were judged on their successes
through prevention efforts, leadership involvement and promotion of
"It is quite an honor to receive this recognition, and every member of
the 319th Medical Group should be proud of their contributions," she
said. "In addition to our staff focusing on safety and quality, we hope
to empower our patients as well. Patients are considered part of the
team, and play a vital role in the healthcare process. Educating
patients to be their own advocate will provide them the tools to
communicate their needs with the healthcare team. Without their input
and understanding of the plan of care, we cannot do our jobs to the best
of our ability."