» Connecting the Power of Writing with the Practice of Medicine

Masthead header

To Err Is Human …

A few things you may not know about me:

  • I don’t know how to fold fitted sheets.
  • I’ve been “trying” to lose 15 pounds for about three years now.
  • I’ve been wearing my glasses for two weeks because I let my contact lens prescription run out.

Why am I sharing these personal details of my life on the WriterGirl blog? The answer is simple: I spelled “pique” wrong in my Hot Trends at SHSMD blog post a week or so ago. It wasn’t an Earth-shattering mistake … but it was a mistake, and a writing mistake at that! (*Collective gasp!*). Even worse, I didn’t even catch that mistake – someone in the health care industry did. When our Director of Business Development, Reba Thompson, told me about it, I replied, “that was a Good Catch!” Then I promptly fixed it.

Back when I worked at a health care system as a Clinical Patient Safety Manager, we had a Good Catch program that rewarded associates for catching an error before it happened. The associate might have found unlabeled lab specimens, for example. Or perhaps they noticed a new nurse who didn’t go through the patient ID procedure upon entering a patient room. The rewards for the associate who reported were small but appreciated – a certificate for a free coffee at the lobby coffee shop or perhaps a candy bar. The program itself was hugely successful. Each event was presented to a safety committee, who evaluated for process improvement opportunities and associate morale was positively impacted.

At WriterGirl & Associates, we have a Good Catch program of sorts, too. Our Content Quality Standards are a set of processes that we use for every project – no matter how large or small. The Standards touch all aspects of content strategy and development:

  • Onboarding and training writers, editors and project managers
  • Selecting the right members for the project team
  • Implementing project management processes and tools
  • Writing (and rewriting … and rewriting)
  • Review process

Our Content Quality Standards ensure the best of everything is applied to each and every project before we even engage our clients. The Standards were developed with the client in mind – because we understand how important reliable health care content is to our clients and the audiences they reach.

According to that good ole’ patient safety handbook, To Err Is Human, some 44,000 people die in hospitals as a result of medical errors that could have been prevented. That book was written in 1999 so hopefully the number has decreased as a result of programs like Good Catch. Still, mistakes in hospitals can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. While my “pique” mistake wasn’t going to put lives at risk, it did remind me that even though none of us are perfect, we can always strive toward quality, because quality always matters.

Thanks to the individual who pointed out the fact that I used “peak” instead of “pique” … can I buy you a cup of coffee?


Posted by Kris Martin, Vice President of Operations