HRET: Understanding Total Patient Harm 08.21.2014

Understanding Total Patient Harm

All of the hospitals that have committed to participating in the AHA/HRET HEN have made a commitment to improve quality and safety of care on behalf of the patients and communities they serve.

By collecting, tracking and measuring a total patient harm rate (total patient harm is a composite rate made up of all individual harm measures), hospitals will be able to better monitor the big picture of patient safety within their organizations.

A total patient harm rate combines all individual measures of harm that a hospital may be working on and allows the hospital to employ major strategies to improve patient care everywhere, every time and for every patient.

The 24 participating NH hospitals worked on reducing hospital acquired infections associated with urinary catheters, central venous catheters, placement on a ventilator and a set of 4 high volume inpatient surgical procedures.  They also addressed the reduction of patient falls, hospital acquired pressure ulcers, adverse drug related events and birthing hospitals worked to eliminate elective deliveries (those without medical justification due to risk to baby or mother) prior to 39 weeks gestation.

Understanding your hospital's total harm rate or identifying "harm across the board" can be an important tool to:

• Identify all harms that occur within your organization and the greatest opportunities to eliminate harm
• Put a face on harm that tells a compelling story to support culture change needed to improve quality
• Drive improvement through front line staff engagement, as well as senior management support.

 Harm Across the Board (HAB) Template

Click here to view the template...


The AHA/HRET HEN hopes to empower all hospitals to eliminate patient harm through the collection of "harm across the board templates". The HAB template is used to succinctly illustrate the progress a hospital is making towards eliminating harm, track the actual number of harms, spotlight specific harm reduction measures and share strategies for success.