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The causes of never events in hospitals

Howard Gitlow (School of Business Administration, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA)
Qun “Amy” Zuo (School of Business Administration, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA)
Steven G. Ullmann (School of Business Administration, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA)
David Zambrana (University of Miami Hospital, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA)
Rafael E. Campo (Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA)
David Lubarsky (Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA)
David J. Birnbach (Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida, USA)

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma

ISSN: 2040-4166

Article publication date: 2 August 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to posit that it is possible to identify contributing factors for “never events,” preventable adverse events in the healthcare setting, and to develop “best practices” to prevent them.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper focuses on three specific never events: patient falls, pressure ulcers, and hospital acquired pneumonia. A model is suggested to identify “gold standard best practice” protocols to be used to prevent these events. A literature review identifies two categories of factors: uncontrollable patient‐related factors and controllable environmental related factors. The methodology is to use the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Breakthrough Series Collaborative Model to develop best practice protocols for controllable environmental factors.

Findings

Controllable environmental variables may be positively impacted by using Theory of Inventive Problem Solving (TRIZ), Value Stream Mapping, Kanban, 5S technique, Reduction of Complexity, Total Production Maintenance, Poke‐Yoke, and Quick Change Overs. Controllable environmental variables may then be positively impacted by these methodologies and tools.

Originality/value

The tools and methods indicated have been used individually in the healthcare sector, but this approach has never been used in an integrated manner. The concept is to work with patient safety organizations in order to reduce never events in healthcare; events that, to date, have significantly increased the costs of healthcare and reduced the quality of processes and outcomes in healthcare.

Keywords

Citation

Gitlow, H., “Amy” Zuo, Q., Ullmann, S.G., Zambrana, D., Campo, R.E., Lubarsky, D. and Birnbach, D.J. (2013), "The causes of never events in hospitals", International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 338-344. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJLSS-03-2013-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited