Air Force Medical Service Aims for High Reliability in Pursuit of Zero Harm

Added on Apr 18, 2019

Air Force Medical Service Aims for High Reliability in Its Quest to Achieve Zero Harm
By Audrey Doyle

Aim high. It’s what members of the U.S. Air Force pledge to do every day in their mission to “fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace.”

It’s also what Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) senior leaders pledged to do when a 2014 review revealed there were gaps in the access to and consistent delivery of safe, high-quality medical care to Air Force personnel and their families.

To fill those gaps, the leadership team launched a multiyear culture improvement initiative with the goal of transforming the AFMS into a High Reliability Organization (HRO). Although only about a quarter of the way through its transformational journey, the AFMS has already reduced its Serious Safety Event Rate (SSER®) by 49% enterprise-wide. Other key metrics have improved as well, including those pertaining to patient experience, patient outcomes, readmissions, and follow-on care interventions.
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