Providing safe and efficient care is a priority for most healthcare organizations. One key component to successfully doing so involves being proactive in preventing issues that may endanger or be unsafe for patients. Below is a list of top patient safety concerns for healthcare organizations in 2017. The following list of patient safety concerns was compiled by ECRI utilizing 1.5 million reported patient safety events (1):
- Information management in EHRs – Healthcare providers and organizations have a lot of information to manage, and although EHRs have helped they also come with their own set of challenges. The bottom line is that healthcare information should be made clear, accurate and accessible so that providers can make the best clinical decision possible.
- Unrecognized patient deterioration – Patient deterioration from conditions such as stroke and heart attacks can be life-threatening if gone undetected. Which is why an increased focus on public awareness, protocols, education for at-risk-patients, and training for clinicians can improve recognition and treatment response times.
- Implementation and use of clinical decision support (CDS) – Clinical decision support includes tools to ensure that the correct information is presented at the appropriate time of workflow. (3) Healthcare organizations should continuously monitor the effectiveness of CDS alerts, evaluate the impact on workflow, and review staff response.
- Test result reporting and follow-up – Healthcare organizations should monitor their test result reporting systems for effectiveness and ensure policies and procedures clearly designate accountability for action and appropriate follow-up. Patient engagement and health literacy strategies can also be implemented to education patients.
- Antimicrobial stewardship – Misuse and over use of antimicrobials is one of the world’s top health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided core elements for antibiotic stewardship for hospitals, nursing homes, and outpatient settings.
- Patient identification –Healthcare organizations should support patient identification initiatives and engage staff. When used appropriately, patient identification bands, electronic displays, bar-code systems and other technologies can also support safe patient identification.
- Opioid administration and monitoring in acute care – When mistakes occur with opioid administration, there can be devastating results. Which is why it’s critical to implement best practices for patient identification, medication purchasing, labeling, dispensing, use of bar-code medication administration systems, and independent double checks. (1)
- Behavioral health issues in non-behavioral-health settings – In many hospital care settings, patients’ behavioral health needs can go unmet, which may result in aggressive behavior. Which is why staff should be trained to assess patient’s behavioral health needs, recognize the early signs of behavioral health needs, use non-offensive techniques, and de-escalate a situation.
- Management of new oral anticoagulants – An increased awareness on the proper use of anticoagulants is necessary. Healthcare organizations can use CDS to alert practitioners to duplication of therapy. The collection and analysis of events involving new oral anticoagulants can help organizations identify further prevention strategies.
- Inadequate organization systems or process to improve safety and quality – Research shows a link between error prevention and a culture of safety. Healthcare organizations should explore strong preventive strategies, such as standardization and automation and support a culture that emphasizes education rather than placing blame. In addition, organizations should have an actionable quality and patient safety plan.