Sunday, March 24, 2019

(Courtesy of RWJ Barnabas) As the president and chief executive officer at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, Stephen P. Zieniewicz, FACHE, has been involved in several major initiatives—including the opening of a whole new hospital wing. But, first and foremost, safety is Zieniewicz’s #1 priority—safety for all, including patients and their families, employees, visitors, students, medical residents and all of those in training. Zieniewicz sets this example of safety through holding daily safety briefings to provide a real-time forum to move Saint Barnabas Medical Center to a high-reliability organization.

Hand-washing isn’t high-tech, but it’s imperative that hospital employees do it frequently to keep from spreading germs that could harm patients. “We talk about good hand hygiene to prevent infections all the time,” Zieniewicz explains. “And we use every approach we can.”

In so doing, he is helping to continue a strong record. The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit organization that evaluates the performance of hospitals, issues letter-grade hospital safety scores that evaluate institutions’ success in protecting patients’ safety. And Saint Barnabas has earned its “A” grade for 12 survey periods in a row, going back to 2012.

Across the country, only 59 other hospitals have matched that record—including just three of the 68 hospitals studied in New Jersey. And Saint Barnabas was the only Essex County facility with such a “straight-A report card.”

Safety is central to just about every decision made at the hospital, says Zieniewicz. “My focus every day, at every meeting, is always safety. Our patients and their families are at the heart of everything we do, and we want to ensure that they have a safe journey while in our care.”

The Leapfrog Group calculates grades ranging from A to F for more than 2,500 U.S. hospitals, using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. The scores are designed to give the public information they can use to protect themselves and their families when they need to choose a hospital.

To find out more about services available for you at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, please call 888.724.7123 or visit www.rwjbh.org/sbmc.