Skip to main content

High Reliability Health Care


Dr. Patrick O'Shaughnessy

High Reliability Organizations (HROs) work to recognize and identify errors before significant harm can occur. The leaders and staff of Catholic Health are committed to being a High Reliability Organization. For this reason our employees are trained in techniques to facilitate effective communication and situational awareness and, most importantly, to improve the culture of safety to support enhanced reporting of both ‘harm events’ and ‘near misses’ non-punitively so that learning can occur and processes can be changed to optimize the best outcomes.

The commercial aviation and nuclear power industries exemplify highly reliable, safe operations. For instance, commercial aviation has a preventable death rate of 1.6/1 million flights, compared to the Institute of Medicine’s To Err Is Human report, which asserts that as many as 100,000 preventable deaths may occur in U.S. health care settings each year. While outcomes at Catholic Health are far superior to those recorded nationally, we have committed our organization to achieving zero preventable harm and are making great strides toward that ultimate goal.

As part of our commitment to achieving high reliability and zero preventable harm, our Catholic Health's Daily Patient Safety Principles — tools that enhance high reliability learning and patient care — are in effect across our health care system. Each year, we present Certified Zero Harm Awards to care teams achieving flawless performance in specific measures for 12 consecutive months. Also, through our internal Pinnacle Award for Quality & Patient Safety, modeled after the Healthcare Association of New York State’s Pinnacle Awards, Catholic Health annually recognizes internal projects playing a leading role in promoting improvements in health care delivery. In addition, Catholic Health collaborates with The Joint Commission’s Center for Transforming Healthcare in providing advanced leadership training in a clinical setting.

To further mature our HRO journey, we have partnered with Press Ganey’s Healthcare Performance Improvement (HPI) strategic consulting team. Press Ganey is a leading provider of patient experience measurement, performance analytics and high reliability quality advisory solutions for health care organizations. With the core value of Zero Harm as a guiding principle, HPI has helped more than 800 organizations achieve and sustain an 80% or better reduction in Serious Safety Event Rates (SSER®) within 2 years.

As we advance in high reliability, our focus remains, as ever, on our patients and their well-being. Our care teams have been cited as among the safest and most qualified in our region and we work every day to raise our standards all the higher for the good of all those to rely on us.

Patrick M. O’Shaughnessy, DO, MBA

President & Chief Executive Officer