Patient Safety Awareness Week

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2021

Patient Safety Awareness Week is an annual recognition event intended to encourage everyone to learn more about healthcare safety, and to recognize the incredible work that is being done.
During Patient Safety Awareness week, THA highlighted some of the projects that Tennessee hospitals have been working on to improve the safety of healthcare for patients, caregivers, families, and staff. We’d like to thank Tennessee healthcare professionals who make a difference in our communities, not just this week, but every day. View a statement from THA President and CEO, Dr. Wendy Long.

Patient Safety Spotlights

Knoxville area hospital systems have collaborated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to care for patients and address the challenges of the coronavirus in their community. They are also working together to help local health departments provide COVID-19 vaccinations in Knox and surrounding counties.

As of March 4, Blount Memorial Hospital, Covenant Health, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Tennova Healthcare, and The University of Tennessee Medical Center have collectively provided a milestone 100,662 doses through on-site, drive-through, and community vaccine clinics, while following Tennessee Department of Health guidelines for who can receive the vaccine and when.

The hospital systems will continue to offer vaccinations as supplies become available and encourage people who want to receive the vaccine to check the websites and social media channels of the health systems as well as local health departments to learn about future vaccination opportunities. Information is updated frequently, as vaccine availability depends on the supplies provided to the hospital systems by the state of Tennessee.

The Tennessee Hospital Association PSO (THA PSO) offers member organizations a federally protected space to report, analyze, and learn from patient safety harm events and near misses. Members benefit from regular education offerings, safe table discussions, email alerts, and published resources on a variety of patient safety topics. THA PSO offers additional services such as research requests, root cause analysis evaluation, and access to subject matter experts through its contract with ECRI/ISMP PSO. Services and education topics are developed in response to recommendations from the THA PSO Advisory Council, a group of six member representatives from organizations of different sizes, complexity, and geographic regions of Tennessee. If you are interested in more information about joining THA PSO or optimizing existing membership, contact Rhonda Dickman, PSO Director, at

THA would like to acknowledge and thank our current PSO Members for their commitment to patient safety.

THA PSO Advisory Council

THA PSO wishes to express its appreciation to the members of the THA PSO Advisory Council who dedicate their time, expertise, and perspectives toward making THA PSO a valuable service to members.

PSO Safe Table on Patient Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In a recent safe table discussion, THA PSO members shared the impact of the pandemic on patient care delivery. This summary report highlights key learnings and recognizes the beneficial actions of leadership and the dedicated commitment to patient safety in extraordinary circumstances.

For more information visit the THA PSO webpage.

The ICU Safety project is a national endeavor to foster the implementation and adoption of the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) to reduce central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) in adult intensive care units.

Eleven ICU units from four Tennessee hospitals joined their counterparts across the country to participate in this project, which started in November 2019. Despite challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, these units participated in monthly webinars, coaching calls, and peer mentoring to implement proven strategies to reduce CLABSI and CAUTI.

These units were successful in engaging physician and other multi-disciplinary teams’ support, improving multi-disciplinary rounding, improved teamwork, and improved infection practices to engage ICU staff to improve the culture of safety.

The major challenge to the success of this project was centered around the pandemic. Hospitals experienced staffing challenges, surges in hospital admission, high patient acuity, and personal challenges as team members dealt with personal and family infection with COVID-19.

Their resilience and commitment to patient safety is commendable, as they have powered through the challenges to continue with the program. Worthy of note is an overall decrease in not only CLABSI and CAUTI but in other healthcare-associated infections such as MRSA.

Participating Facilities and Units:

  • Tristar Centennial Medical Center, Nashville, TN
    • Neuro Surgical ICU (NSICU)
    • Critical Care Unit (CCU)
  • Thomas West Hospital, Nashville, TN
    • 2APOD
    • 2BPOD
    • 2CPOD
    • 3DICU
  • University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, TN
    • Neuro Critical Care Unit (NCC)
    • Cardiovascular ICU (CVICU)
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
    • Neuro Surgical ICU (NSICU)
    • Medical ICU (MICU)
    • Cardiovascular ICU 2 (CVICU2)

THA’s Falls Collaborative concluded in January 2021 with 27 teams across the state participating in six-months of learning, coaching, and sharing events facilitated by Jackie Conrad, MBA, BS, RN, RCC™, national falls content expert from Cynosure Health. We are proud of the success and resilience that these teams demonstrated during the national COVID-19 pandemic which worsened throughout the duration of the collaborative.

Each team identified and implemented key strategies for its organization based on its individual assessments.  Targeted improvement focused on injury prevention, utilizing a “whole house” approach, safe mobility, and peer sharing, especially related to safety interventions used in airborne isolation areas.

THA Falls Collaborative teams heralded from:

  • Ascension Saint Thomas Health Midtown Hospital
  • Ascension Saint Thomas Health Rutherford Hospital
  • Ascension Saint Thomas Health West Hospital
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital Collierville
  • Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis
  • Baptist Restorative Care Hospital
  • Bristol Regional Medical Center
  • CHI Memorial
  • Franklin Woods Community Hospital
  • Hardin Medical Center
  • Henry County Medical Center
  • Livingston Regional Hospital
  • Maury Regional Medical Center
  • Nashville General Hospital
  • Regional One Health
  • Riverview Regional Medical Center
  • Saint Francis Hospital Bartlett
  • Saint Francis Hospital Memphis
  • Siskin Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Southern Tennessee Regional Health System – Lawrenceburg
  • Tennova Healthcare Cleveland
  • TriStar Skyline Medical Center
  • Trousdale Medical Center
  • Unity Psychiatric Care Columbia
  • University of Tennessee Medical Center
  • Vanderbilt University Medical Center
  • West Tennessee Healthcare Dyersburg

The University of Tennessee Medical Center launched a specific initiative to promote health equity by addressing disparities in COVID-19 vaccination in underserved Knoxville communities. UTMC’s partnership with community and faith coalitions, led by Dr. Keith Gray, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, vaccinated over 400 elderly, ages 70 and up in less than 6 hours. Those people will be able to return to the same location for their second dose.

“Our goal is to vaccinate as many people as quickly and efficiently as we can with a limited supply in order to have a healthier and safer community. In collaboration with the Faith Leaders Health Initiative, the Knox County Health Department, Emerald Youth Foundation and other community partners, we have provided access to the vaccine at area ministry centers serving East Knoxville and Lonsdale. We are specifically addressing barriers of fear, mistrust and poor access in these at-risk communities that preclude widespread vaccine uptake.  Many of our team members are volunteering to serve our patients and community through the equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine by bringing the vaccine into the communities where our most vulnerable and underserved patients live.” -Dr. Keith Gray, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at The University of Tennessee Medical Center

The THA Sepsis Collaborative was formed in April 2017 by the Tennessee Center for Patient Safety as a formal platform for sepsis professionals to network, engage in shared learning, and work together to reduce sepsis mortality. Since its inception, the Collaborative has been instrumental in reducing Tennessee sepsis mortality by 12.3 percent, representing over 3,000 lives saved.

Hospitals Share Their Successes

Eighty representatives from 55 hospitals participate with the THA Sepsis Collaborative. Members have willingly shared tools, protocols, and activities to optimize sepsis care delivery. The following are just a few examples.

Methodist University Hospital – Sepsis hand-off communication tool

Cookeville Regional Medical Center – Sepsis care pathways and protocols

Saint Francis Hospital Bartlett – Strategies for achieving high sepsis bundle compliance

UT Medical Center – Tracking sepsis care performance and providing staff and physician feedback

Starr Regional Medical Center Athens – Strategies for sepsis care in small, rural hospitals

Indian Path Medical Center – Sepsis bundle SBAR communication tool

CHI Memorial Hospital – Approach to Code Sepsis in the emergency department

Baptist Memorial Hospital DeSoto – Innovative approach to staff sepsis education

Maury Regional Medical Center – Partnership with nursing facilities to reduce sepsis readmissions

Tennessee HCA Hospitals – Leadership engagement to drive improvement

Sepsis Awareness Month

Each September, Tennessee hospitals recognize national Sepsis Awareness Month, raising awareness and helping to reduce sepsis mortality by improving early sepsis recognition and treatment. To aid hospitals in these efforts, THA maintains a Sepsis Awareness Month digital toolkit on its website.