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    Healthcare Plan Information

    Group Health Cooperative Patient Safety Initiatives

    FEHB - Enrollment Codes
    Washington 541, 542, 544, 545

    At Group Health, your health and safety is our first priority. In every setting-your doctor's office, local medical center, the hospital, specialty care sites, or long-term care, we strive to provide you the quality care you need in the most effective ways possible.

    As an integrated health care delivery system providing the full continuum of care, Group Health has always had a methodical, disciplined approach to patient safety and clinical improvement. Group Health's belief is that safety is every patient's right and every employee and practitioner's responsibility. Group Health has pioneered many of the patient safety approaches recommended by the Institute of Medicine. Among the standards that the organization supports, are those set by the Leapfrog Group, an association of corporate leaders dedicated to improving patient safety.

    Group Health leaders and managers encourage reporting of any/all unusual clinical occurrences-be it an error, a potential error, or a "near miss" (or, "good save") from everyone without fear of retaliation for reporting. The organization also encourages patient and families to report errors. The goal of the reporting is to learn from errors and to identify system weaknesses and breakdowns so that future errors can be avoided and the care we give our patients is safe and effective.

    Group Health's Patient Safety Database is used to document the evaluation of patient safety concerns. The database allows capture of unusual occurrence reports, documentation of review findings, production of trending and outcome reports. The database also helps in tracking action plans identified during the care review process. It supports the workflow for care review preparation. From the database, case summaries can be produced for peer review and root cause analysis. The data tie into our quality committees for monitoring and assuring that improvement activities are carried out.

    At Group Health, pharmacists are an integral part of the health care team. They work closely with the doctors and nurses to make sure that prescriptions are appropriate for the patient, considering what disease or condition they are trying to treat or prevent other health conditions, allergies, and medications he or she also may be taking. Pharmacists can literally walk down the hall to speak with a doctor when they have questions about a prescription because doctors, nurses, and pharmacists all work in the same building. In addition, in the process of filling prescriptions, pharmacists can look at patients' lab values, doctor notes, and other pertinent information. This allows them to ask more informed questions and increase the likelihood of catching potential problems.

    • Because we are an integrated system, what we do in pharmacy is shared in a variety of ways with the patient's doctors (and vice versa). Doctors can access their patients' drug profiles at any time using their office or exam room computer. Pharmacists and doctors can access patient disease profiles electronically as well.
    • Our pharmacists have time to spend with patients explaining medications and answering their questions because they rely on state-of-the art prescription processing technology as well as pharmacy technician support.
    • When a patient is starting a new medication, a pharmacist talks with them about it and asks them questions to make sure they understand their medication and how to take it before they leave the pharmacy. In this process, if there is a problem with a prescription, it is very likely to be caught and fixed before it becomes an error.

    Our automated prescription refill system provides 100% accuracy in filling and labeling prescription refills. Almost all of the prescriptions refilled at Group Health, no matter where a patient's clinic is, are filled by this system, and sent either to the patient's home or to their medical center of choice.

    Our pharmacy computer system, which automatically alerts the pharmacist when there is an important drug interaction or if a patient has a documented allergy to the medication he or she was prescribed, is an error prevention tool that provides additional patient safety.

    Medication errors are identified from patients, home health nurses, physicians, consulting nurses, and others on the health care team. When a medication error is identified, information is collected about the error and is entered into a computerized tracking system. The system tracks follow-up actions, which may include notifying the patient or the patient's doctor, updating or correcting patient information in our computer systems, educating members of the health care team, and/or changing the way we do things to prevent the error from happening again. Follow-up happens at both the local level by the pharmacy manager and across the care delivery system by pharmacy administration.

    Population based approaches to care is Group Health's framework for providing care. We look at our patients, not only as individuals, but also in the context of the different populations and clinical subgroups to which they belong. This supports our physicians and health care teams to use planned systems of care for identifying the most effective approaches to chronic disease management and preventive care for each individual.

    We offer several disease and prevention management programs. These include heart, diabetes, depression, tobacco cessation, cancer screening for colorectal, cervical and breast. We also have a program on childhood and adolescent immunizations as well as the annual influenza vaccination campaign. We educate our members through our website, MyGroupHealth (www.ghc.org), through our education materials, and provider communication. Treatment includes adherence to evidence-based guidelines. We send reminders to patients regarding cancer screening and other necessary interventions for chronic disease management. Through our MyGroupHealth website, we offer condition centers on heart, diabetes, and depression which provide information, education, online tools, and discussion groups to our members. We also offer Living Well with Chronic Conditions classes to help patients manage their chronic disease.

    Group Health Cooperative is a national leader in evidence-based guidelines. Our system is explicit in its evidence based process. The evidence-based guidelines are available to our providers through our internal website and via paper.

    Group Health has an Outstanding Clinician award program as well as a Service Star program to recognize individuals who provide exceptionally high quality care and service to our members.

    For more information, please visit or call us at:

    Public web access www.ghc.org
    Member web access www.ghc.org then log on to MyGroupHealth
    Group Health Cooperative - Customer Service 1-888-901-4636
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