Absolute Safety

Image of Mary Shepler, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at EvergreenHealth in Kirkland, WA.

Mary Shepler, RN, BSN, MA, NEA-BC

Chief Nursing Officer

At EvergreenHealth, safety is everyone’s responsibility, and it is a crucial part of our culture … in fact, we call this our Community of Safety. And, it lives everywhere at EvergreenHealth, from the CEO’s office to every patient room.

The mission of EvergreenHealth is to advance the health of the community we serve – providing our patients with exceptional clinical outcomes and absolute safety.  The best clinical outcomes cannot be achieved without the safest environment.

We are proud to be recognized by The Leapfrog Group with an "A" grade for patient safety.

But, like other endeavors that are complex and involve human life, when it comes to health care safety perfection is expected of us, even if it can be impossible to always assure.

As health care professionals, we are trained to be, and expected to be, experts and near-perfect in delivering safe care. Yet we also know that we are imperfect as human beings – which is why at EvergreenHealth we rely upon tools like teamwork, systems and standard processes to ensure safety.

While perfect people are impossible, perfect systems are possible. The pursuit of perfection in safety is a journey, and below are some of the ways we pursue it to ensure our culture is developing absolute perfection.

The journey to absolute safety is both urgent and ongoing. We’re making the journey together as a team with our patients.

I invite you to contact me if you have a comment, compliment, question or concern about patient care or safety.

Creating our Community of Safety

Safety is one of the ways in which we live our values - compassion, respect, excellence, collaboration and accountability. Together, regardless of our role in the organization or the department at EvergreenHealth, we’ll continuously reinvigorate our efforts and personal commitment to safety.

Reducing Readmissions

EvergreenHealth leads the region in reducing hospital readmissions and is the only Washington hospital to avoid Medicare penalties due to readmissions for four consecutive years. Read more...

Decreasing Preventable Hospital-acquired Conditions

EvergreenHealth was recognized in 2015 with the Washington State Hospital Association’s “Achieving Best Care” award, one of only 11 hospitals in the state, for its outstanding achievement in making health care safer for its efforts in reducing patient harm in key areas identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Read more about making healthcare safer...

Weekly Event Report

We publish a Weekly Safety Event Report for all staff, in order to share our work and progress on our journey to absolute safety – to bring transparency to the process so that we may identify unsafe conditions and work together to make them safe.

SafeLinQ Report System

The name of our safety reporting system, SafeLinQ, reflects the fact that staff, physicians, volunteers, families and patients are joined together – linked – in keeping EvergreenHealth absolutely safe. Each employee, regardless of job description, has an integral role in identifying and reporting safety issues.

The means by which we report is called SafeLinQ where staff, physicians and volunteers can submit a report – a safety event, a near miss or an unsafe condition – and our Patient Safety Officer collects the report, responds with a message and alerts the appropriate people, who investigate and share findings with staff.

We then publish the stories and solutions to our staff and encourage them to use SafeLinq often, to help keep our patients and each other absolutely safe. Read more about safety at EvergreenHealth

Patient Safety Alerts

All EvergreenHealth staff and physicians seek to provide the safest care possible for our patients all the time. Errors and near misses happen, and periodic Patient Safety Alerts are published to help staff learn from an error and to prevent its happening again. Whether or not a staff member provides clinical care, reading Safety Alerts and submitting safety reports are part of their role in our community of safety.

Just Culture

We subscribe to the “Just Culture” philosophy – which seeks to encourage people to self-identify when harm and risk has occurred and avoid punishing human error, but look rather at the systems that support, and back up, human action to avoid mistakes in the first place.

Medication Safety

Medication errors are one of the leading causes of harm and accidental death in hospitals each year. At EvergreenHealth, we have several systems to keep you safe from medication errors. Read more about medication safety...

Patient and Family Involvement

Patients and family members play an important role in our Community of Safety. We welcome you to be proactive and take an active role in your safe care. Your role includes asking staff and visitors about hand hygiene and engaging in our rapid response process if needed.  Read more about family involvement in care...