Don Decker

Northwell Health’s Simulation Center

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Patient safety is (or should be) at the center of any healthcare delivery system. The goal for every patient is that they leave the office, surgical center, or hospital better than they were when they came in. Northwell Health employees hone those skills in the Patient Safety Institute (PSI), a branch of the organization’s Center for Learning and Innovation.

“Safety is at the center of everything we do,” said Dr. Kathleen Gallo, senior vice president and CLO for Northwell Health. “Safety is the business of healthcare.”

The simulation center employs several different learning methodologies, including people trained as patients and corresponding symptoms and working on procedural skills with cadavers. Simulations can run as long as 10 minutes, and its debriefing can go up to an hour. “Everything is on video so the clinical teams can sit down, facilitated by the Patient Safety Institute faculty, and review the video,” Kathleen said. It’s a chance to see what they did well together as a team, and what they can improve on.

“That’s something that just can’t happen when you’re at work in a hospital because you’re too busy taking care of patients,” Kathleen said. “But to be able to sit back and reflect as a team on performance is critical.”

This is not a one-and-done program. “We have over 115 clinical teams regularly scheduled at our Patient Safety Institute,” Kathleen said. “Some come in every week, some come every other week, but everybody having skin in the game gives you a better chance of what they’ve learned over time at PSI being brought back to the hospital. And the big focus in PSI is how you can develop high-performing teams when they’re in clinical situations at work.”

Learn more about Northwell Health’s PSI and its overall approach to learning by reading the cover story on Kathleen in Chief Learning Officer magazine.

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