Quality and Safety: Our highest priority. Our ongoing commitment.
At Cheshire Medical Center, nothing is more important than delivering high-quality care and ensuring the safety of our patients, visitors, clinicians, and staff. The quest to do our best links several essential elements: ongoing training, best practices in health care, and an atmosphere of mutual support.
In a hospital environment, “quality” isn’t an abstract notion. To ensure patient safety and improve treatment outcomes, we engage in activities ranging from preparedness drills and certification programs to third-party accreditation programs and professional development activities. We achieve our fundamental commitment to safety through standards and treatment protocols that are rigorously followed across every dimension of our operation.
Every three years we voluntarily seek accreditation from The Joint Commission, the industry standard in quality improvement and patient safety, achieving the Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval®–a symbol of trust and commitment.
Continuous learning. Continuous improvement.
Health care is a human enterprise. Humans apply knowledge and use complex equipment in a high-stakes environment. Despite careful planning, things can sometimes go wrong. At Cheshire, we strive to learn from our successes and our mistakes. We evolve our policies using quantitative evidence, and we do all we can to maximize positive outcomes and minimize risk.
Cheshire’s Just Culture provides a safe space for employees to report any concerns. We follow up on every report and make changes as necessary. We are also proactive: A quality and safety team that includes Cheshire’s chief executives meets regularly with staff and providers to hear suggestions direct from the front lines.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health: A system of quality and safety
As part of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system, we share information on the policies and procedures that work best, and identify which should be replaced. We compare notes with all the institutions in the system, ensuring that we adhere to best practices in quality of care and patient safety. Cheshire is grateful to be able to share with and learn from our distinguished colleagues.
Safety in the age of COVID-19: Preparation and persistence
The current COVID-19 situation won’t be with us forever. But the lessons we’ve learned from it will. Cheshire benefited from testing our epidemic response plan in 2019—before the novel coronavirus virus was known. According to Aalok Khole, MD, infectious disease specialist, “Testing gave us a two-month lead time on COVID-19. When we started seeing cases reported in January, we already knew the strengths and weaknesses of our plan. We built around what was in place and adapted to the current situation.”
Since then, Cheshire has reviewed and updated many policies and procedures—and written hundreds of new ones—to address the protocols around COVID-19. Our goal is to ensure patient safety and assure the community that it is safe to come into the hospital—using proper precautions—when they need care. One thing is for sure: This difficult experience will make us better caregivers.