Mediclinic focuses on putting patients at the centre of our healthcare team approach to enhance the quality and safety of care.

This has created a culture of quality that influences every part of the business.

“Mediclinic’s commitment to patient safety is at the core of everything we do,” says Dr Melanie Stander, Mediclinic’s General Manager of Clinical Services. “Achieving excellent clinical results depends on having advanced, dependable care processes that are thoroughly evaluated against global standards. Mediclinic is dedicated to prioritising patient safety in all aspects of our operations.”

However, in the fast-paced and challenging healthcare setting, mistakes can still happen despite having strong systems in place. Rare but potentially adverse incidents that could cause preventable harm to patients include errors in medication, unsafe surgical procedures, infections related to healthcare, mistakes in diagnosis, patient falls, pressure sores, misidentification of patients, and unsafe blood transfusions.

Systemic approach to safety

Safeguarding our patients requires commitment from everyone to build a patient safety culture. This requires each employee to focus on reporting and learning from patient safety events. The World Health Organization says most mistakes that lead to patient harm globally aren’t due to healthcare workers performing badly. Rather, they are due to system or process failures that lead to human mistakes.

To understand the underlying causes of errors in care, Mediclinic has shifted to a system-based approach. In other words, when errors do occur, they’re attributed to poorly designed system structures and processes instead of singling out individual staff members to take the blame. This approach recognises that healthcare workers are human and work in complex, fast-changing, and often stressful environments.

“Building a ‘just’ culture is fundamental to patient safety,” says Dr Stander. “This ensures all staff operate in a psychologically safe and respectful environment and feel comfortable reporting incidents of patient harm.”

Patient safety managers

Patient safety managers are registered nurses who coordinate investigations alongside clinical frontline staff – nurses, doctors, pharmacists and hospital management. When an investigation is concluded they can then escalate learnings to the leadership team at Corporate Office.

The clinical teams that work alongside the patient safety managers include as many people as possible who are directly involved in caring for patients. They will have first-hand experience of where the system breaks down, putting patients at risk.

“Mediclinic fosters an open culture where teams are comfortable discussing patient safety events,” says Dr Stander. They are involved in systems analysis of serious reportable events (SREs) in hospitals and encouraged to find ways to address contributing factors so the incident doesn’t recur.

The focus is on quality improvement and not punishment. Employees involved in adverse events are treated fairly. This is done without overlooking any negligence or misbehaviour that leads to substandard medical management. “The result is an informed culture. Teams learn from patient safety events to mitigate future incidents. They are also able to learn from one another when things go right by sharing best practices,” says Dr Stander.

Hand hygiene and infection prevention

A direct correlation exists between improved hand hygiene compliance and reduced healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Mediclinic hospitals continue to focus on interventions that improve hand hygiene compliance and results show consistent improvement year on year.

Preventing infection is paramount to patient safety. Activities include standardising infection-control processes based on international best practice; implementing care bundles to help prevent surgical site infections (SSIs); and running surveillance projects with multilayer methodology.

“Our infection prevention and control specialists, who standardise our infection control policies, receive regular training and monitor compliance to the IPC bundles and any infections,” explains Dr Stander.

What patients can do

Patient safety requires a team effort, and patients are part of our team. Here’s how you can help us improve patient safety:

  • Share all relevant information with Mediclinic clinicians about your condition, medical history, or medicines you’re taking
  • Use your medication responsibly
  • Follow your healthcare professional’s advice about treatments and the duration of your hospital stay
  • Clarify anything you’re unsure about, such as your post-discharge care
  • Contact your doctor, nursing team, or the hospital’s patient safety manager if things do go wrong.