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Patient Safety Hotline:
Just Dial
and Report

This month, the launch of a new hotline at Hopkins Hospital heralds a fresh solution for safety concerns that may otherwise fall through the cracks. The Patient Safety Hotline, which goes live Feb. 17, links callers with a live operator simply by dialing Centrex at 5-5000.

The introduction of the Patient Safety Hotline reflects a need for real-time communication of imminent patient and employee safety concerns. Now, an operator will quickly funnel calls to the right person. A patient safety issue—any situation that could cause preventable harm to a patient and could not be resolved quickly using existing reporting chains—is directed to the patient safety administrator on call, the evening shift administrator, or the administrator on call. An employee safety issue—any situation that could harm an employee—triggers a call to the Health and Safety Environment Emergency Response team.

Lori Paine, Hopkins Hospital’s patient safety coordinator, envisions the new service as an avenue for employees who deem further action necessary when their departmental chain of command hasn’t resolved the issue. Other calls might involve a situation that compromises a patient’s care, but falls between two departments. Employees new to Hopkins’ web of resources can use the hotline in a pinch, rather than navigating their reporting structure when a safety issue lurks.

The hotline is not to be confused with the Johns Hopkins Compliance Line (1-877-WE-COMPLY), a toll-free, 24-hour resource for reporting workplace concerns such as non-compliance with policies and safety issues. That service is not equipped for urgent response.

Nor is the hotline intended to replace Patient Safety Net, used for logging events or near-events after the fact. “PSN will continue to be the place to report adverse events,” says Paine. “The Patient Safety Hotline is for safety concerns that need immediate attention—a complement to existing emergency phone lines.”

Lindsay Roylance

Emergency Phone Numbers at JHH:

Fire 5-4444
Medical 5-4444
Security 5-5585
Patient Safety 5-5000

PSN Update

Since Patient Safety Net (PSN) rolled out at Hopkins Hospital last summer, employees have logged more than 5,000 adverse events onto the Web-based system. By far, nurses were the most frequent users, accounting for 86 percent of reports. Users, who can access PSN from any public workstation, report an average posting time of three to five minutes. It’s still too early to measure the full impact, says Lori Paine, patient safety coordinator, but if employees are diligent about reporting, PSN will lead to safer care. “We can’t develop solutions if people don’t tell us about errors. PSN is key to opening that dialogue.”




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