Accreditation

New Sentinel Event Alert focuses on leadership's role in culture of safety

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, May 1, 2017

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The Joint Commission in March unveiled Sentinel Event Alert (SEA) 57, which stresses the role of leadership in developing and sustaining a culture of safety. It goes on to claim that leadership’s failure in this regard contributes to several adverse events, including wrong site surgery and treatment delays. It’s impossible to completely eliminate human and mechanical error completely, the accreditor writes. But leaders can take a role in mitigating and catching these mistakes before they hurt someone.

Steve MacArthur, a safety consultant for The Greeley Company in Danvers, Massachusetts, says that most organizations have already been working toward a culture of safety prior to this SEA.

“I am presuming that the issuing of this SEA at this particular time is some sort of acknowledgment that for all the work done and time passed that we’re probably not quite where we need to be as an industry,” he says. “I guess it’s possible that this might light a fire under folks to move the ball forward with a little more quickness, but organizational culture does not turn on a dime. The real focus of this is that it puts organizational leadership on the hook for making this happen.”

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