Safety & Quality

Denver Health is an highly integrated health care system with one of the busiest hospitals in the Rocky Mountain Region and a large network of community health centers and school-based clinics. More than 26,000 patients are admitted to the hospital each year and the system serves 151,000 individual patients each year.

Denver Health’s remarkable achievements in patient care quality, despite the vulnerable status of many of its patients, have become widely known throughout the United States and many parts of the world. All members of the team are committed to ensuring that each patient is treated as a unique individual with state-of-the-art medical care. We are also deeply committed to making patient safety a top priority. We strive to eliminate patient harm using technology, redesigning care, reporting concerns and analyzing information to prevent medical errors.

The strong culture of patient safety, patient-centered care and high quality at Denver Health is the result of the commitment and focus of the entire team.

Patient Safety

At Denver Health, caring for patients and ensuring that they leave the hospital healthy and well is a top priority, which is why we have adopted our own quality practices to ensure that our patients are safe and well cared for; some of the safety measures in place at Denver Health are described below.

Computerized Provider Order Entry System

The Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system at Denver Health is a computerized order entry system which allows providers to correctly enter and track orders & to minimize potential mistakes. The system alerts physicians of any potential drug-allergy, drug-lab and drug-drug interaction and enables other health care professionals to correctly deliver care as ordered by a physician.
Only 10 percent of hospitals have a CPOE system--and just 3 percent of those operational systems are fully adopted with with advanced decision support features similar to Denver Health.
Denver Health providers enter more than 200,000 orders each month using 125 order sets, making the system an efficient and accurate way to provide care for patients.

Medication Reconciliation

When a patient is to receive a medication, it is imperative that the care provider ensure that the prescription matches the physician’s order, is given to the right patient at the right time and in the correct dosage. Denver Health has an information technology system that carefully checks every prescription before it is given to a patient.

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are essential to preventing or curing infection related to surgery, but it is also important to stop them at an appropriate time to help prevent the development of strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Denver Health utilizes an information system to ensure that patients receive the correct antibiotic using a standard order set.

Hand Washing

Proper hand hygiene in a medical setting is necessary to prevent the spread of infection and provide top care for patients. At Denver Health, we use a rigorous system which requires employees to cleanse properly before and after patient contact. As an alternative, antibacterial hand foam is placed outside and inside patient care areas to ensure that hands are properly sanitized.

Denver Health patients are encouraged to ask their care providers to foam/wash before contact and posters and banners are posted throughout the facility to ensure that patients are comfortable asking their care providers to wash/foam their hands before contact.

Preventing Surgery Mistakes

Patients at Denver Health are closely involved in making sure surgery is being done on the right patient, and at the correct site. Patients are asked to identify themselves, to say what surgery is being done and on which side, and sometimes to mark the surgery site themselves with indelible ink. If a caregiver marks the site, it is initialed by that person.

In addition, before the initial incision, all caregivers take a "time out" to ensure that everything is correct prior to the surgery.

Preventing Falls

The most common time for patients to suffer a fall in the hospital is when they get out of bed to go to the bathroom. All of Denver Health’s new patient rooms have grab bars available between the bed and bathroom to help prevent accidental falls.

In addition, Denver Health conducts a "fall risk assessment," to evaluate a patient's risk for fall.

Denver Health encourages all staff to report any potentially unsafe issues involving patients and has adopted an electronic Patient Safety Net reporting system. If any caregiver observes something occurring with a patient that seems wrong or unsafe, it can be reported instantly on Patient Safety Net for follow-up. The anonymity of the system makes this a powerful safety tool.

Color Coded Wristbands

Denver Health uses color-coded wrist bands for patients to improve patient safety. Red shows that patients have allergies. Yellow says that the patient is at risk for falling. Purple tells doctors and nurses to check the patient chart for important information that they should be alert to with that patient.

Color Coded Staff Uniforms

Denver Health requires staff to wear color coded uniforms to help patients identify who is providing their care. Patients are provided with a key to the colors used to be sure that they are aware of who is entering their rooms and can feel safe.

Ambulatory Quality

Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) are required to track and report quality of care indicators through the Bureau of Primary Health Care. Denver Health reports indicators for each of its community clinics and benchmarks when possible against HEDIS 75th percentile. Denver Health’s quality improvement is driven by the Ambulatory Quality Improvement Committee which directs the efforts of chronic disease and preventative care workgroups.