Safety Management System
Supporting organisations with the development, enhancement and evaluation of SMS
The term ‘Safety Management Systems’ or SMS is increasingly being heard in conversations about patient safety but what is it? You already have countless procedures, requirements and people under the umbrella of safety. So why would you need something else?
The answer lies in the question. Most, if not all healthcare organisations, devote substantial resource and time to managing patient safety already. However, it is vital that this investment is deployed effectively and efficiently. SMS aims to corral patient safety activities into a few core components and harmonise the approach across the organisation.
For example, components of SMS might be:
- Planning and policy for patient safety – shaping activities and allocating resources
- Implementing policy – functional patient safety and risk management activities
- Feedback and oversight – measuring patient safety performance
- Training and education – embedding understanding of patient safety principles
Within this structure each component can include several elements. In ‘feedback and oversight’ there might be performance indicators, audits, investigations and a leadership review process. This way a framework can be established to promote consistency and improve the visibility of gaps, deviations and shortcomings in patient safety management. It can also provide evidence of success to encourage greater acceptance of the SMS concept.
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How we support with Safety Management Systems
Verita has extensive experience in the development, enhancement and evaluation of SMS and can work alongside organisations to build a system appropriate to the size and nature of the activity.
We would start by identifying all existing patient safety functions and where they might fit in a framework of components. From that framework we would look for gaps and duplications to ensure that patient safety objectives can be met and that resources are not being wasted. We would also look to bolster consistency in patient safety philosophy and activity across the organisation. Supporting this we could help create a programme of training and education to spread understanding of SMS and people’s roles and responsibilities within it.
Reducing risk with a robust Safety Management System
So in summary, SMS is really not something additional – it is a way to marshal patient safety management into a recognisable structure so that nothing is missed out and waste is minimised. It helps to deliver certainty in an environment where uncertainty equals risk.