Saint Barnabas Medical Center has earned nine straight "A" grades
for keeping patients safe.
Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, took the helm of Saint Barnabas Medical Center last September,
he has been involved in several major initiatives—including the
ongoing construction of a whole new hospital wing. But, first and foremost,
safety is Zieniewicz’s #1 priority, safety for all, including our
patients and their families, our employees, visitors, students, medical
residents and all of those in training. Zieniewicz sets this example of
safety through initiating daily safety briefings to provide a real-time
forum to move Saint Barnabas Medical Center to a high-reliability organization.
He continues to set an example. Hand-washing isn’t high-tech, but
it’s imperative that hospital employees do it frequently to keep
from spreading germs that could harm patients.
“We talk about good hand hygiene to prevent infections all the time,”
Zieniewicz explains. “And we use every approach we can.”
In so doing, he is helping to continue a strong record. The Leapfrog Group,
an independent national nonprofit organization that evaluates the performance
of hospitals, issues letter-grade hospital safety scores that evaluate
institutions’ success in protecting patients’ safety. And
Saint Barnabas has earned its “A” grade for nine survey periods
in a row, going back to 2013.
Across the country, only 152 other hospitals have matched that record—including
just six of the 67 hospitals studied in New Jersey. And Saint Barnabas
was the only Essex County facility with such a “straight-A report
Safety is central to just about every decision made at the hospital, says
President and CEO Zieniewicz. “My focus every day, at every meeting,
is always safety. Our patients and their families are at the heart of
everything we do, and we want to ensure that they have a safe journey
while in our care.”
The Leapfrog Group calculates grades ranging from A to F for more than
2,500 U.S. hospitals, using publicly available data on patient injuries,
medical and medication errors, and infections. The scores are designed
to give the public information they can use to protect themselves and
their families when they need to choose a hospital.
Actually, the Saint Barnabas record is even a little more impressive than
it seems, because earning an “A” has become harder, according
to a Leapfrog-affiliated organization called the New Jersey Health Care
Quality Institute. This year, for the first time, criteria for the grades
included results of patient surveys about patient-provider communication,
communication about medications and discharge and responsiveness of hospital
staff. And the score includes two new infection measures, for MRSA (that’s
methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) bacteremia and c. difficile.
“And we still achieved an A,” Zieniewicz says proudly.
The hospital earns such honors through diligent use of standardized approaches
to patient care. “We look for the opportunity to reduce and eliminate
variations,” he says. “For example, we use checklists like
those commonly employed in the aviation industry to help support an environment
with zero harm to patients.
To find out more about services available for you at Saint Barnabas Medical
Center, please call 888.724.7123