At Washington County Hospital and Clinics, we are committed to providing each patient with high quality care by practicing medicine in such a manner that complies with national standards ensuring safe, evidenced-based care in a patient-centered facility. Our staff is dedicated to the pursuit of providing the very best care and continually monitors and improves the quality of care and experience we deliver to patients and families.
Characteristics of Quality Care
At WCHC, we integrate the following six characteristics into our services through continuous improvement activities designed to advance patient safety, patient experience, and patient outcomes.
- Safety - reducing the risk of harm to patients receiving treatment and others including visitors and healthcare providers
- Effective - providing care that leads to improved patient outcomes
- Patient-centered - providing personalized care that is respectful and responsive to the individual patient's values
- Timely - reducing wait times and delays for patients and healthcare providers
- Efficient - balancing resources to avoid wasteful use of equipment, supplies, and energy
- Equitable - providing care that does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age.
WCHC's quality of care and patient experience data is made available through Iowa Hospital Facts
or Hospital Compare
, a national website that reports this information to the public.
How can you be a safe patient?
Patient safety is a top priority at WCHC. We want the same outcome as you and your loved ones: for you to get better quickly. As the patient, it's very important that you are an active member of the health care team. The tips below will assist you in that role.
Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. Your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or any health care provider you see should be prepared and eager to answer your questions. Always ask questions before agreeing to any medical tests, before taking new medication, or before any new treatments. Find out as much as you can about illnesses or conditions that affect you. Talk to your doctor about all treatment options.
Involving Family or Friends
It can be helpful to ask a family member or friend to come with you while receiving care. This person can come with you to appointments, help you ask questions, and take notes to help you understand care instructions. You may feel more confident if someone else is with you. Also, a relative or friend can help remind you about things you planned to tell or ask the doctor. He or she also can help you remember what the doctor says. For the best results, let your companion know in advance how he or she can be most helpful.
Wash Your Hands
Hand-washing helps prevent the spread of germs. Infections that occur in hospitals are commonly spread by contact and may be prevented with hand washing. Wash your hands after you touch items in your room, move around your room, or use the bathroom. Touching your nose or mouth with unwashed hands spreads germs that can cause disease or infection. Touching a wound with unwashed hands can infect the wound, again causing an infection. It is OK to ask your medical team and visitors if they have washed their hands.
Sharing Health Information
Write down your medical history and conditions or illnesses you have, including:
- Time you've spent in a hospital
- All the medicines you're taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and supplements, and herbs
Share up-to-date information about your health history and care with everyone who is treating you. Don't assume they know what other doctors, including specialists, you are seeing or what treatments you are receiving. You may be asked the same questions different times by several members of your medical team. This is all part of making sure that you get the safest care.
Know Your Medicines
If you do not understand why you are taking a medication, what it does, its possible side effects, the best time to take it, or foods to avoid, ask. Asking questions helps you to understand why you are taking these medications. Make sure your medication is what was ordered for you. If it looks like the wrong medicine, ask your provider.
Know Your Health Care Team
Healthcare professionals must wear identification badges. If someone who tries to care for you is not wearing an identification badge, ask for his or her name and notify a properly identified healthcare professional.
Healthcare Associated Infections - What can Patients Do?
- Hospital staff must properly identify you before every treatment and procedure. Before the admitting staff puts your ID bracelet on, confirm your name and make sure the information is correct.
- Ask your nurse about all the medicines he or she gives you. If they are new or different, ask what they are and why you need them.
- Be sure the staff who takes blood, tests you, or gives treatment or medicines first checks your hospital ID bracelet and asks for your name.
- Do not tamper with devices, including IV pumps. If you have questions about them, please ask your nurse.
- Please wash your hands often and remind others to do so. This will help prevent infections.
- Be sure your primary care doctor knows you are or have been in the hospital.
- Get your instructions in writing. We want you to feel that you have the information you need to care for yourself at home.