January 20, 2014 | | Comments 0
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for many safety folks)

As one year draws to a close (sometimes it takes until the end of January to be able to “close out” December), for many safety professionals, it’s time to start working on the annual evaluation of Environment of Care program. Hopefully, in reviewing performance over the last 12 months, you’ve made some improvements, but you’re hopefully also identifying the improvement opportunities that await your program in 2014.

The annual evaluation process is one to which I give a lot of thought over the year, as I look at how folks are administering the process. And I think my best advice is to think about the evaluation process as a way to tell the story of your program—unless you’re just “setting out” on the safety journey, you have a wealth of history (triumphs, frustrations, maybe one or two non-starters—remember, there are no failures as long as you learn something from them) and all-too-often, I see folks focusing only what has happened in the last 12 months without placing those 12 months into some sort of historical context. Use the evaluation of the scope, objectives, performance, and effectiveness to reflect the journey/story that has resulted in your program being where it is. I’m sure you’ve all experienced instances in which, when looking at the last 12 months, the picture you’re holding is somehow incomplete. You know you’re better/different than what you’re looking at, but how do you clarify that picture, particularly when you’ll be communicating that picture to your EoC team and probably organizational leadership?

I think if you focus on the (hi)story (I don’t think I could go back further than a couple of years—maybe five, but that would be at the very most) of your program, you’ll be able to  frame things in such a way as to really crystallize the journey. You are where you are for a reason and sometimes 12 months of activity/performance isn’t enough to provide a true appreciation for where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you are going.

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Steve MacArthur About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Mass. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is contributing editor for Briefings on Hospital Safety. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.

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