Commitment to a Pause: Improving Care Through Safety Moments and Our Zero Harm Initiative


What are safety moments?

One of the techniques we use is “safety moments.” These pauses in process empower our caregivers to openly discuss potential safety concerns or to question anything that seems out of the ordinary. Our commitment to a pause has resulted in prevented errors and the identification of protocol flaws that are then resolved almost immediately.

But, safety moments aren’t just for caregivers; they’re for patients too. We encourage our patients to ask all their questions and express all their concerns about the care being provided to them. Each of your questions is one more potential safety moment that helps our caregivers pause and resolve problems of safety or quality.

How do they improve patient safety?

As part of our Zero Harm initiative, safety moments allow us to improve patient safety by consistently applying best practices no matter the care setting. Our best practices are based on the science of high reliability and they’ve been proven to improve safety in other high-risk industries. Zero Harm focuses our attention on the prevention, detection, and correction of safety issues and events. Safety’s not just a program at Intermountain; it’s part of our culture.

How do we discuss and improve safety?

Our teams gather in huddles at predetermined times and locations to look at the activities of the day. Together they discuss things like which patients are on the schedule, what equipment is needed in the care setting, and any additional services they can provide to patients. Huddles allow our caregivers to follow up on safety goals and opportunities for improvement. They also allow issues to be escalated and resolved more quickly.

Our commitment to a pause is part of our commitment to the patients we serve.