Patient Safety

HealthEast is dedicated to ensuring the safest possible care for our patients. Through the work of our Patient Safety Committee and our participation with the VHA national hospital organization's patient safety initiatives, we are reviewing and enhancing our systems and processes to provide safe patient care.

  • Patient safety is a priority throughout HealthEast, with our leadership, physicians and staff.
  • Our Patient Safety Committee evaluates any safety concerns raised by staff, patients or family members. The committee is responsible for developing steps to make HealthEast a safe place to receive care.
  • Doctors and nurses are board-licensed and participate in continuing education.
  • For medication safety, we double-check to make sure you receive the right medication, right dose, with the right method at the right time.
  • We participate in the Minnesota Hospital Association's Patient Safety Registry. This allows us to share safety resources and knowledge with hospitals across the state.
  • Our hospitals are committed to providing information to our patients and their families. We completed the Leapfrog Group survey at
  • HealthEast hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission and meet the Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals.

Open and honest communication

HealthEast encourages and support open and honest communication with you, your family and your health care team. It is our policy to be open and honest with you and your family by informing you of the potential results of your care, including unexpected results.

We encourage you to designate a family spokesperson to help communicate with your family and the health care team.

What you can do

We encourage you to:

  • Bring a family member or friend with you to health care visits. He or she can provide comfort, support and can also help ask questions.
  • Ask questions and takes notes.
  • Complete a satisfaction survey. We survey our patients to learn about their hospital stay. We review these surveys and make changes as a result of your comments.
  • Speak up if you have any questions about your medication.
  • Let us know if you have safety concerns.

Questions about safety?

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the care you receive.

If you have patient safety comments, questions or concerns, please contact us.


Bethesda Hospital: 651- 232-2122
St. John's Hospital: 651-326-7777
St. Joseph's Hospital: 651-232-3737
Woodwinds Health Campus: 651-232-0222

Patient safety focus areas

  • Surgical

    • Improving communication between the surgeon and the nurse
    • Improving communication among the surgical team members
    • Allowing adequate time for the surgical count
    • Opening supply packages away from the patient
    • Working with manufacturers and the FDA to package supplies differently
    • Developing new ways to track objects used in surgical procedures
    • Purchasing surgical sponges and other materials that are easier to track and count
    • Making sure that surgery teams are pausing before surgery to review patient information
    • Marking the surgical site prior to surgery
    • Increasing the use of x-rays in the operating room to identify the correct surgery site
  • Pressure ulcers/bed sores

    • Conducting extensive staff training on skin inspection and pressure ulcer prevention
    • Completing skin inspection upon admission to identify patients at risk and treat accordingly
    • Using Wound Ostomy Continence nurses for consultation
    • Using pressure reduction surfaces and other special equipment for patients at risk for pressure ulcers
    • Providing tools and methods to routinely assess patients at risk for pressure ulcers
    • Establish protocols to make sure patients at risk for pressure ulcers are re-positioned on a regular basis
    • Increasing the involvement of all staff in pressure ulcer prevention
  • Safe site surgery

    Policy and procedure ensure that the correct site and procedure is done:

    • Patient or family asked to verify
    • Consent form states procedure and site
    • Site is marked if left or right
    • Surgeon confirms procedure and site before patient brought to OR
    • In the OR, a "pause for the cause" occurs to confirm patient, procedure and site before beginning surgery
  • Patient identification

    Policy and procedure ensure accurate identification of patients before giving medication, blood products or taking blood samples, or before surgery or other invasive procedure:

    • Use at least two unique identifiers to establish a patient's identification
    • Verify identification by asking the patient to state their full name and date of birth/staff checks medical record number
    • Check the patient's ID band
  • Medication safety

    • We have prohibited certain abbreviations and are discouraging the use of others.
    • For verbal orders, to verify the order, policy requires the person receiving the order to first write the order as they hear it, and then "read back" the complete order for verification.
  • Special projects

    • Reducing ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICU patients
    • Reducing central venous catheter infections in ICU patients

The Joint Commission has released animated Speak Up™ videos to encourage patients to speak up and be active participants in their health care.

Watch the videos

The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals

The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goals focus on problem areas in health care safety and how to solve them.