2013 HRM Impact Award Winner


Message from North Shore LIJ’s CEO Michael Dowling

“We selected two large scale system-wide implementations, TeamSTEPPS and Collaborative Care Councils to build a culture of safety that would positively impact quality of care, the patient experience and our financial outcomes,” said Michael Dowling, North Shore-LIJ Health System’s president and CEO. “We found that by investing in formalized team training and bringing front-line personnel into the decision-making process, we have improved our performance and outcomes. The use of TeamSTEPPS and the establishment of Collaborative Care Councils were, at first, a successful initiative but now they are part of our culture – the way we operate on a daily basis.”



Transforming Culture Through Evidence and Innovation


The primary business of healthcare organizations is promoting wellness and healing, which means that the main focus is on achieving desired, high-quality patient outcomes and creating optimal patient experiences. As a health system, North Shore-LIJ achieves its goals of delivering world-class health care through strategic management of quality, patient experience, employee engagement and finances. Medical errors impact each of these areas.

Medical errors negatively impact patient outcomes due to injuries, disabilities and death, with massive negative financial impact for healthcare organizations as well as for patients and families.

The health system’s solution was to build a culture of safety as a prerequisite to attaining its patient safety goals, positively impacting patient experience and financial outcomes. The vision was to build a sustainable culture of safety as the foundation to guide daily practices, eradicating tolerance for errors, and empowering staff to speak up and influence actions to facilitate safety.

North Shore-LIJ selected Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (Team STEPPS), an evidence-based framework developed by the Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and US Department of Defense as the intervention for organizational transformation to a culture of safety. TeamSTEPPS is the national standard for team training in health care. We built an innovative infrastructure, Collaborative Care Councils, for sustained team engagement and front-line participation in realizing our mission. These Councils provide the necessary structure and process for frontline engagement in achieving excellence in care delivery.

Since implementing TeamSTEPPS and Collaborative Care Councils, the health system has improved performance and outcomes. We learned that transformation can be a simple process, and simplicity supports sustainment. Collaborative Care Councils paired with TeamSTEPPS tools are effective mechanisms for communication, problem solving and engagement of large, interdisciplinary teams.