Patient safety incidents, near misses and unsafe conditions occur constantly throughout healthcare organizations, whether or not facilities know about all—or even most—of them. The Iceberg model (used for guiding systemic thinking in healthcare for years) is a strong visual to illustrate that what you see above the waterline is only the tip of the problem. However, what lies beneath the surface provides a much deeper understanding of the problem.
ADNPSO flipped the “Iceberg” model upside down and created the “Whirlwind Model” in order to operationalize it. The WhirlWind Model illustrates the key functions, parameters, and compliance efforts that must be coordinated, collaborated, and communicated in order to deliver safe patient care.
There is no straight line from admission to discharge as patients are impacted by all the blowing “whirlwinds;” i.e., interactions with multiple healthcare professionals and navigation through thousands of process steps that create fertile ground for defects and errors. Organizations must embrace the complexity and execute well-designed, targeted and coordinated care to mitigate patient risk and harm. A first step is appropriately categorizing patient safety data and delving below the surface to reveal fractured systems and processes.