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The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) (Text Version)

Slide presentation from the AHRQ 2011 conference.

On September 19, 2011, Melinda Sawyer made this presentation at the 2011 Annual Conference. Select to access the PowerPoint® presentation (370 KB). Plugin Software Help.

Slide 1

The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP)

Melinda Sawyer, RN, MSN, CNS-BC
Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality

Slide 2

Learning Objectives

  • Provide an overview of the CUSP program.
  • Describe how CUSP can assist in identifying, investigating, and working toward eliminating system defects.
  • List three available teamwork tools.
  • Analyze CUSP's impact on the culture of safety.

Slide 3

Images: A toddler and a nurse are shown.

Slide 4

The Vision of CUSP

The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program is a safety culture program designed to:

  • Educate and improve awareness about patient safety and quality of care.
  • Empower staff to take charge and improve safety in their work place.
  • Partner units with a hospital executive to improve organizational culture and provide resources for unit improvement efforts.
  • Provide tools to investigate and learn from defects.

Slide 5

The Vision of CUSP

In Summary:
CUSP helps establish a safety culture and essentially forms units into clinical communities that share the same values and beliefs around a specific goal, and work to reach this goal.

Slide 6

Where is CUSP?

  • Piloted in 2 Intensive Care Units at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2001:
    • In-patient units, outpatient clinics, and procedure areas.
  • State-wide collaborative:
    • Michigan ICU's (2003).
    • Rhode Island (2006).
    • Adventist Health System (2006).
    • Operating Room Safety Program (2006).
    • Michigan Operating Rooms (2007).
  • National collaboratives (2009).
  • International collaboratives:
    • Spain, England, Peru (pilot testing).

Slide 7

Pre CUSP Work

  • Create a team:
    • At least one nurse, physician, and administrator.
    • Assign a team leader.
    • Background CUSP Team Information (Appendix A).
  • Measure culture of safety.
  • Work with hospital quality leader to have a senior executive assigned to team.

CUSP Toolkit,

Slide 8

CUSP: 5 Steps

  1. Educate staff on science of safety.
  2. Identify defects.
  3. Assign executive to adopt unit.
  4. Learn from one defect per quarter.
  5. Implement teamwork tools.

Pronovost J. Patient Safety, 2005
CUSP Toolkit,

Slide 9

Step 1: Science of Safety Education

  • Understand the system determines performance.
  • Use strategies to improve system performance:
    • Standardize.
    • Create independent checks for key process.
    • Learn from mistakes.
  • Apply strategies to both technical work and team work.
  • Recognize teams make wise decisions with diverse and independent input.

Slide 10

Step 2: Identify Defects

  • Ask staff how will the next patient be harmed and what we can do to mitigate that harm:
    • Staff Safety Assessment (Appendix C).
  • Review error reports, liability claims, sentinel events or M & M conference.

Slide 11

Step 3: Executive Partnership

  • Executive should become a member of team.
  • Executive should meet monthly with team.
  • Executive should:
    • Review defects.
    • Help prioritize defects.
    • Ensure the teams has resources to reduce risks.
    • Hold team accountable for improving risks.

Slide 12

Prioritize Defects

  • List all defects.
  • Discuss with staff what are the three greatest risks.
  • Identify if resources are needed:
    • Select 3 that require resources and 3 that do not.
  • Executive should assist/lead this process:
    • Safety issues Worksheet for Senior Executive Partnership (Appendix D).

Slide 13

Step 4: Learn from Defects

  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen (system lenses)?
  • What could you do to reduce risk?
  • What specific interventions will you do to reduce risk?
    • Identify a metric to know if risk is reduced.
  • How do you know risk was reduced?
    • Ask frontline staff.
  • Use Learning from Defects Tool (Appendix G).

Pronovost 2005 JCJQI

Slide 14

Step 5: Implement Teamwork Tools

  • Implement tools that are intended to support teamwork behaviors:
    • Daily goals (Appendix H).
    • AM briefing (Appendix I).
    • Shadowing another professional (Appendix K).
    • Culture check up (Appendix L).
    • Call list (Appendix M).

Slide 15

Identified concern from Staff Safety Assessment (CUSP Step 2)Recommended Improvements (CUSP Steps 4 & 5) Interventions Implemented
Risk of central line associated bloodstream infectionsMake sure best practices are used for all central lines insertions.
A line cart and checklist is used for all central lines insertions.
Risk of central line associated bloodstream infections due to poor compliance with IV tubing changesMake sure every central line IV tubing is changed according to best practice.
New IV tubing labeling system used.
Risk of medication errorsPoint of care pharmacist available on units
Pharmacist assigned
Poor management of painCreate guideline or protocol for pain assessment and management
Pain card at every bedside
Poor communication among ICU providersCreate Short Term “Daily” Goals Sheet
Short term goals sheet used during rounds
Poor communication during ICU discharge leading to medication errors in transfer ordersImplement medication reconciliation process at ICU discharge
Medication reconciliation done at discharge

Slide 16

Safety Climate—Culture of Safety Survey

An image of a graph titled: Safety Climate—Culture of Safety Survey" is shown. It shows the percent of respondents within an ICU reporting good safety climate. There are 5 places highlighted: 1. WICU PreCUSP (35%); 2. SICU Pre CUSP (35%); 3. WICU Post CUSP (45%); 4. SICU Post CUSP and SICU Time (58% and 60%); and 5. WICU Time 3 (88%).

Slide 17

Culture of Safety—WICU/SICU

QuestionsRelative % Increase Before vs After Program
1. The senior leaders in my hospital listen to me and care about my concerns.22
2. The physicians and nurse leaders in my area listen to me and care about my concerns.30
3. My suggestions about safety would be acted upon if I expressed them to management.30
4. Management/Leadership will never compromise safety concerns for productivity.22
5. I am encouraged by my supervisors and coworkers to report any unsafe conditions I observe.32

Slide 18

Culture of Safety—WICU/SICU

QuestionsRelative % Increase Before vs After Program
6. I know the proper channels to report my safety concerns.30
7. I am satisfied with availability of clinical leadership (MD, RN, RPh).44
8. Leadership is driving us to be a safety-centered institution.35
9. I am aware that patient safety has become a major area for improvement in my institution.30
10. I believe that most adverse events occur as a result of multiple system failures, and are not attributable to one individual's actions.34

Slide 19

CUSP is a Continuous Journey

  • CUSP is a marathon not a sprint.
  • Ask staff at least every six months how the net patient is going to be harmed and invest the time and resources to reduce this harm.
  • Learn from one defect per quarter and share lessons learned.
  • Implement teamwork tools that best meet the teams needs.

Slide 20


Image: A toddler and a nurse are shown.

Page last reviewed October 2014
Internet Citation: The Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP) (Text Version). October 2014. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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