Creating a Culture of Quality and Safety


Dana-Farber's culture of quality and safety goes hand in hand with the Institute's world-recognized leadership in patient and family-centered care. Through our Patient and Family Advisory Councils, our patients and family members are experts in quality improvement, and their perspectives make our organization stronger. They have a voice in major decisions affecting patient care, and are imbedded in major committees across the organization, from board level committees to Quality Improvement and Risk Management.

Dana-Farber also engages every staff member in quality improvement and patient safety. We measure the quality of care in many ways, and we create or update practices to address areas of concern. The following initiatives help us make the patient experience as positive as possible.

Patient Participation at Dana-Farber

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute supports the role of patients as members of their healthcare team. We encourage patients to speak up if something does not seem right in their care. The Center for Patient Safety developed a campaign to help patients learn the communication skills used by successful teams in high-performance industries, and these messages are included on patient materials.

Check to make sure you've understood your caregivers by repeating information they gave you.

Ask what side effects to expect from your medications.

Notify your care team about any problems you've had between visits.

Patient/Family Relations

The Patient/Family Relations Program helps improve patient and family satisfaction and identify areas of improvement within the Institute. Staff provide a coordinated process for managing patient and family concerns and requests — ensuring appropriate follow-up and response.

Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC)

Our Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC) allow us to learn from our patients about their experiences and receive guidance on needed improvements.

Learn more about Adult PFAC
Learn more about Pediatric PFAC 

Programmatic Initiatives

Clinical Process Improvement Leadership Program (CPIP)

Dana-Farber encourages clinicians to develop and/or update their knowledge and skills in clinical process improvement. The aim of CPIP is to educate health professionals to apply process improvement techniques to solve clinical problems. By developing these skills, health professionals will be prepared to actively lead and participate in initiatives that improve the delivery of patient care.

Projects in Practice (PiP)

Projects in Practice (PiP) is a class offered to non-clinical staff members that exposes them to process improvement, project management, and change management concepts as they apply them firsthand to projects such as improving patient access or the approach to funding and billing for clinical trials.

Safety Culture Survey

Every two years Dana-Farber assesses its patient safety culture through a survey asking staff members to share their perceptions about the quality of communication, teamwork, collaboration, and fairness at the organization.

Team Training

Dana-Farber trains staff members within disease centers on how to communicate more effectively to ensure the safety of our patients, especially at critical handoffs. Watch a video that shows the Team Training process in action at Dana-Farber.

Executive Safety Rounds

Dana-Farber's senior leaders demonstrate their commitment to safety by visiting the clinics every month to meet with front line staff and address their concerns. These visits allow leaders to learn what vulnerabilities exist in order to address them. Examples include improving lighting to reduce the risk of falls, and making changes to our medication order system.