Top Patient Safety Issues that Hospitals Should Focus on in 2016

patient safety issues
May 17, 2016

Posted by MedbillingExperts / 0 Comment

Healthcare has made giant strides towards improving the safety of patients in recent years. Besides bringing down error rates drastically, healthcare practices have reduced hospital–acquired conditions by 17 percent, leading to 87,000 fewer patient deaths over the last five years. However, there is still scope for improvement. This blog talks about some of the potential patient safety issues that hospitals should focus on this year.

1. Medication errors:

Regarded as one of the most common types of inpatient errors, medication errors affect more than 5% of hospitalized patients every year. And unfortunately new evidence has revealed that this kind of medical errors are rising at a rapid pace in the current times. For instance, consider emergency surgeries. As per a recent report, nearly 50% of all surgeries are affected by medication errors of one kind or the other. Another report rates documentation errors, incorrect dosage and mistakes in labeling as the three most common causative factors for these errors.

How to prevent medication errors:

To overcome this failure, healthcare services should first acquire a thorough understanding of errors that recur at disturbing frequency. Based on this understanding, they need to come up with a targeted strategy to prevent these kinds of errors.

2. Diagnostic errors:

This kind of error accounts for 6 to 17 percent of all adverse events in the industry. What’s more, it also responsible for approximately 10% of patient deaths. All these figures indicate a definite room for improvement in this space.

How to prevent this issue from occurring:

Diagnostic errors generally occur due to two reasons – when there is lack of co-ordination between two or more healthcare providers responsible for treating a patient, and when there is a communication gap between doctors and nurses. Such scenarios can be averted by building a collaborative environment between all the major players.

3. Discharge practices to post-acute, home care:

A recent study, says nearly 20% of patients experience adverse events within the initial two to three weeks of discharge, and that majority of these cases can be averted. Hence providers need to be extremely careful to make sure that all the bases are covered during this critical juncture.

How to prevent this issue from occurring:

Hospitals need to be more proactive to reduce such possibilities. They need to educate patients and their families about proper post-discharge care, and also set up appropriate monitoring mechanisms that promote continuous care.

4. Hospital facility safety:

Many a times the safety of patients can be at stake due to building or maintenance issues. Consider the sewage leak and rat infestation that happened in one of the hospital in Florida last year. Such snags in maintenance of hospital facilities can lead to spread of harmful microbes that can severely impede patient safety.

How to prevent this issue from occurring:

This can be prevented by re-evaluating the maintenance protocols of your facilities from time to time. Hospitals need to adhere to standard guidelines for sewage, pest control, air condition, ventilation and heating in wards, cafeterias, lavatories, emergency rooms, endoscope procedure rooms, sterile processing departments, operating rooms and other facilities in the hospital.

The Bottom-line

There are a lot of issues and stumbling blocks that is preventing hospitals from reaching their ultimate goal of zero patient harm. In addition to the above mentioned issues, there are also other patient safety impediments such as workplace safety issues, reprocessing issues and cyber-insecurity of medical devices. There is also the issue of diseases such as sepsis and also the dangers posed by superbugs. In 2016, Hospitals need to make a concerted effort to remove these impediments to patient safety.

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