YNHHS expands upon HRO safety efforts with "Just Culture"

Yale New Haven Health embarked on its journey to become a high reliability organization more than five years ago.

While HRO efforts have significantly reduced events of unintended harm, we have the opportunity to reduce events further. YNHHS’ ultimate goal is zero serious safety events for patients and staff.

YNHHS is committed to eliminating all events of harm, for the patients we care for and for our dedicated employees and physicians. Achieving this important goal requires an environment in which employees can receive coaching and support when reporting errors, or even near misses, without fear of retribution. Our next step on this journey is creation of a fair and just culture.

As a result, YNHHS is formally embracing the Just Culture model, which has a successful track record in other high-consequence, high-risk industries such as aviation and nuclear power. This model provides an environment where employees feel safe, and it is the first step toward reducing workplace stress. When stress is reduced, resilience increases.

The Just Culture model is consistent with YNHHS’s vision, mission and values because it emphasizes patient-centered care in collaboration with staff who share our values. It underscores our commitment to shared accountability.

The Just Culture model does more than ensure fairness in the workplace. It focuses on aligning employee and organizational values and expectations; learning from error; helping staff make better behavioral choices; and continually auditing and improving our systems through human factors engineering – all with the ultimate goal of producing better outcomes.

The model is a powerful driver to encourage high reliability behaviors and a catalyst to a robust, open, reporting and learning culture. It holds all staff accountable in a fair manner, but in an environment that promotes resilience and learning over punishment.

Watch for more information about YNHHS’ efforts to create a Just Culture, including training that will be provided to leaders from across the system over the next few months.